Saturday, August 24, 2019

Alycia Jenkins performs her senior thesis “Will You Come?”



It’s that time of the year again when the seniors are working hard to complete their senior theses for the fall term. There are different guidelines in the numerous departments at Trinity. The theatre and dance department requires students to author their own performances.

Alycia Jenkins ’13, a Posse scholar student, had the opportunity to present her project “Will You Come?” at the Trinity Commons on Thursday, Nov. 8 and the audience had the honor of observing it. Since her junior year, Jenkins has worked passionately on this piece, which included choreographing, directing, and writing every line. Her project centers on the ability to connect with those who are no longer living and the ability to communicate with words not actions. She selected three female students and one male student to play the roles of the daughter, the poetic spirit, the wise woman, and the dad respectively. The presentation is very personal to the author to the extent that she scripted each character to portray someone who was very close to her; each guided her through her life journey and she decided to use their actual words to make each character come alive. The daughter represents the author herself. Jenkins’ grandmother, who passed away when Jenkins was sixteen, is the wise woman because she was influential and powerful with her words. The poetic spirit represents Jenkins’ late poetry coach whose spirit still lives within her and his “living” spirit helped her to continue writing poetry. She demonstrates this with his advice, “Follow your mind and speak your words.” In addition, the dad is Jenkins’ father and she portrays their real life conversations and the emotions through dance. Overall, these are the people who have affected her life and have made her the independent woman she is today.

InterArts student Briana Chang ’16 showed her amazing talent for the first time at Trinity, earning the role of the daughter. Making her debut as the second lead of the wise woman was Posse scholar Shanice Hinckson ’15. Her energetic personality enabled her to perform well and ultimately convince the audience with her wise words just as the grandmother did with Jenkins. The poetic spirit is played by Posse scholar Chelsea Cummings ’14, who has acted in several performances such as “Inflatable Man, Deflectable Woman” and “The Fall Dance Concert 2012.” Lastly, InterArts student Connor Sheridan ’16, who starred in “Love Kills” and will soon premiere in “Caveman,” was chosen as the voice of the dad. Jenkins decided to do some voice recordings after hearing Sheridan, whose beautiful voice resembled the strong and lovely resonance of her dad’s. She believed it would fit perfectly into her piece.

The author embedded her spiritual side into the performance by using Haitian beliefs and music to honor her grandmother’s heritage and also to display her grandmother’s boldness to the audience. To do so, Jenkins’ chose to dress Hinckson, the wise woman, in all black because it symbolizes elegance in the Haitian culture. Jenkins said, “spirits who are wise have a bold color.” She also added a hint of gold to Hinckson’s wardrobe because gold represents royalty and had her wear an owl necklace in order to reflect wisdom. The daughter was dressed in all white to represent pureness and innocence. The stage lighting created a glow because, as the author said, “The only way that the daughter is able to connect with the poetic spirit is because of her light.” In addition, the poetic spirit wore a blue top to symbolize loyalty and white pants to emphasize the connection with the daughter.

Throughout the performance, the daughter struggles to forge bonds with the two spirits and her dad because she desires to do her own thing. She chooses not to listen to others who are beckoning her to come to them based on their reasoning, hence the title “Will You Come?” Moreover, the daughter deals with many relationships in the performance and cannot easily trust the spirits because she is not certain what is right. Her relationship with her father is strained because she does not agree with his advice, such as using her fists, instead of her words, to fight. The wise woman reveals her sentiment when she says, “violence is not needed, walk into reason.” Finally, the daughter realizes that wisdom only comes through listening to those wiser than her and eventually she understands her connection with the spirits. The three performers display the connection amongst them by dancing in a circle like Haitians, while holding on to each other to signify their bond.

The entire piece was special to watch because it unveiled the author’s true story scene by scene and the dance performances were well thought out. The author was speechless by the end and only displayed her emotions through tears of joy and accomplishment. The audience was fortunate to share it with her.

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