performance & interdisciplinary artist
film + theater + media + africana
May 21, 2021 to
the rules of survival
directed by amanda enzo
"The consideration of perspective overtly occupies the center of the next two plays. In First Day, devised by Amanda Enzo with director Diane Davis, Enzo is Dr. NWA, an art history professor who is introducing her distance-learning class to the course's focus on decolonization. She is upfront about the failure of the "American Experiment," and leads her sometimes uninformed, sometimes resistant students through the ideas that art examines human activities and is itself a form of history, with all of the issues of power and oppression involved in how history is constructed. She confronts her students—whose position the audience occupies in a way that arguably addresses each individual viewer in a way that performance in a theater could not—with how the United States has always mythologized the politics of property and the ways in which brutality creates profit, as well as how white America has both defined and Othered American Blackness. The play makes great use of screen sharing as Dr. NWA provides her students with a range of examples including a painting of Columbus and an 1830s cartoon depicting a white man kneeling on a Black man's neck. Enzo gives a potent performance with some touches of sardonic humor and ultimately, the play challenges the students, and thus the audience, to recognize that, without the excuse or willful adoption of ignorance, there is consequently no excuse for inaction."
--John R. Ziegler and Leah Richards