A Visit from the Top Dog

As soon as the show started, the audience burst into laughter. It was a good indicator of how the night was going to proceed. “You’re an accident waiting to happen,” yelled one of the characters in Pulizer Prize winner Suzan-Lori Parks’ mini-play, “Accident.” The female chracter suspects her boyfriend is unfaithful to her, and this spectacle turns humorous: she does not directly scold her male counterpart, but confronts him in her thoughts. This play was one of seven performed by the University Theater on Saturday, April 21, 2007. These seven plays–“Accident,” “Less and Less,” “Project Ulysses,” “Kinder Lernen Deutsch,” “The Jesus Rose,” “The Litter of Discontent,” and “Monster’s Mother”–were a result of only a week’s worth of writing during Parks’ “365 Days/365 Plays” project has been and will be performed all year long simultaneously by over 600 theaters, non-professional and professional, in major cities around the world, including Atlanta, Denver, Washington, D.C., Mississippi, Nairobi, Sydney, and Beijing, in addition to Chicago. In the post-play discussion, Parks stressed the fact that this proejct was not centered around one theater company or one city because it was a fun, collaborative effort of many. She praised the many talents of the actors and actresses involved in the production of her play, and further emphasized the importance of artistic freedom in the interpretation of these mini-plays. Parks also mentioned how some theaters were wary of producing this play simply because they were not able to read the short plays beforehand and pick and choose their favorites. The most memorable play out of the seven performed on Saturday was “The Jesus Rose,” in which a group of people await Jesus’ awakening one Easter morning when a visitor walks by with a single rose. When one of the people eagerly awaiting Jesus’ resurrection asks this visitor what kind of rose she’s carrying, the visitor replies, “It’s a Jesus rose.” Upon hearing this, a follower of Jesus jumps up and down in the background and screams “Jesus rose!” repeatedly, misunderstanding what the visitor had originally said. Cue the audience’s applause.