The School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies is presenting The Call at The Clarice from Sept. 30 through Oct. 8. The play is a dynamic performance that brings up serious topics of discussion underneath all of its humor and playful bickering.

The Call centers around Annie and Peter, a couple who spent years trying to have children before deciding to adopt from Africa. Their best friends Drea and Rebecca, an African American lesbian couple, support them in the process. The play is about the tensions and conversations that arise when adopting from a third world country as a white American couple.

“It’s about family, and it touches on the responsibilities of our white American privilege and how far that extends,” said Eleanor Holdridge, the director of the play. “She [Annie] is up against her desire to be part of a worldwide solution and her desire to be unconditionally loved by her child.”

Playwright Tanya Barfield made communication a central aspect of the show. The overlapping dialogue, petty bickering and harsh honesty made the communication between the characters strikingly realistic. Barfield did this purposefully because she wanted the message to be as relatable as possible. Without this realistic aspect of communication, the gravity of the talk regarding adoption, especially a cross-cultural adoption, would be lost in translation.

Picture of Jamaal Amir McCray, an actor in the show. Taken by Geoff Sheil.
Picture of Jamaal Amir McCray, an actor in the show. Taken by Geoff Sheil.

The show brings up important topics we usually don’t think about, such as understanding privileges and awareness of different racial experiences. It also demonstrates the importance of putting forth an effort to understand something out of our personal experiences.

“There are things we don’t talk about that we need to, even if they threaten relationships,” said Alicia Grace, a theater major and the actress who plays Drea.

The tensions between Drea and Annie are prevalent in the play, but this dynamic between the characters enforces the importance of communication when dealing with serious topics, which is the play’s overall message.

“Amongst all this talking about everything, you actually have to go and do something about it,” Rachel Grandizio, a theater and civil engineering double major and actress portraying Annie, said. “We can talk about global poverty and we can talk about the problems countries around the world are having, but after talking we actually have to do something about it.”

The cast and crew of the show put forth tremendous effort into making the messages Tanya Barfield wrote come to life on stage.

“Eleanor Holdridge really fosters an environment for collaboration, and that’s in all aspects,” Grandizio said.

That environment of collaboration alongside the camaraderie that comes with a cast of five allows for Barfield’s ideas to be fully expressed.

The Call is a didactic play that beautifully meshes comedy and serious topics. The talented actors and actresses put forth amazing effort into creating a truly unique and entertaining show.

“Everyone in the show would agree that they want the audience to leave thinking about what each character has said,” Grace said.

Everything the characters say is both funny and poignant, but you’ll have to go see it to truly experience this unique play.

Featured Photo Credit: Picture of Jamaal Amir McCray, an actor in the show. Taken by Geoff Sheil.

Monica Pizzo is a freshman journalism major and can be reached at mpizzo@terpmail.umd.edu. 

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