Sunday night Wortman Ballroom filled up with over a hundred different faces: students, faculty, and people from the surrounding community. Some came for hall programs, others for class assignments, and others for enjoyment. The set-up was simple. There was only a humble stage and a single light. Little did we know, she would move the room with laughter, tears, and awe.
Fran De Leon, a crowd-moving performer, took on the role of six different characters in this one woman show. Her main purpose was to show the different “faces” of our generation. And through the reactions of many students, professors, and locals, she far surpassed this purpose.
“It’s one big fuzzy mess, and we’re just hitching a ride!” De Leon said.
Elyse Teeney ’13 was especially surprised among others in the crowd. She planned this as a hall program for her residents.
“I just honestly think it’s amazing that she did all of those voices by herself,” Teeney said.
De Leon grabbed the audience’s attention with such phrases as: “Who are you? What is generation â€˜z’?” She used phrases to describe this generation as “status-updating,” “social networking,” and “Starbucks-drinking” to talk about some things that have defined it. But some still had no idea what was coming. Suddenly, she walked out dressed like a half-Japanese young Vegas resident, and the rest was history. She took on the roles of an African-American man with a Ph.D., a Caucasian college student, and an East-Indian American woman, among other. She stole the hearts of the audience with these true stories that she had the opportunity to tell on the issues of diversity, identity, and Americanism.
The characters were formed from real-life stories collected through various workshops and interviews beginning 15 years ago when Will & Co started. Now, when people at colleges and conferences everywhere go to a show, many times they are inspired and send Will & Co. their story via email.
Dr. Banuelos-Montes commented on the show after watching it and said that it was interesting to him because it created a voice for those who thus far have been silent. The organization collects all of the testimonies and gives sound to this voice that was once absent.
“This collective voice can only be represented through art, and by sending them their stories, the voices are saying that they want to be heard. Not only do they want to be heard, but they want a change,” Banuelos-Montes said.
Will & Co. is in charge of these “faces” performances that are performed around the country. They just finished doing a show at a conference for suicide prevention, and they are presently working on a new show for March, women’s history month, and plan to start the collection for a religion-based show. As part of the remembrance of Martin Luther King, Jr.,
The office of multicultural affairs organized this event. The show was a great remembrance of King because it exemplified the cause that he spent his life on: a nonviolent approach to change.