“Uncle Joe’s Patty Shop” Hopes to Bring Cultural Issues into Spotlight
Written by Kianni Johnson, Senior Writer
Thanks to the effort of Hillcrest students and faculty in the Theatre Institute, our Thespians’ performance of a West Indian Theme comedy play named Uncle Joe’s Patty Shop was a smash hit.
Overall, the production was a funny comedy in which friends, family, and staff enjoyed. However, this play, which was written and directed by Mr. Penn and performed on October 8th and October 9th has a much deeper message than it simply just being a made up funny play.
The message of this play was to bring diversity to viewers and to give them something to laugh at all while telling a story. This play features an old flame coming back to ruins one’s life with intentions of starting over. Instead of letting fate run its course, it comes to a shocking eye-opening realization. “In my opinion, the overall message of the play would be not to try to butt in everyone’s life and affairs, but just to let the natural course of events take place without interference,” said Hillcrest Thespian Keith Thompson, who plays the lead role in Uncle Joe’s Patty Shop.
Director Mr. Penn agreed that we are not the masters of our fate no matter how much we try to adjust things for our personal benefit. He aimed to have students of color be able to take a step back and see what is going on in their lives. “It is/was my hope that the play provided an opportunity for the students to see themselves on stage. So often Theatre is looked at through a white American perspective in most academic settings; however, students of color don’t often get to see themselves on stage. The benefits are providing performance opportunities telling stories representing our diverse student population.”
From a cultural standpoint, Hillcrest should perform more plays that reach out to different cultures. It seems that more of the viewers who were actually West Indian enjoyed the comedy very much. If we keep this up, more and more viewers will be pleased. “I believe Hillcrest should open more shows like this to the public to bring diversity to the Theatre Institute because its always great to look into other cultures. I feel that one big benefit was being able to reach out to the diverse West Indian audience,” said Thompson. It is safe to say that reaching out to a certain ethnic background was the highlight of the comedy, not just the comedy that took place or storyline.
Hillcrest has produced many plays over the years. Hillcrest seems to have no problem pleasing the audience with or without a message. In the words of Mr. Penn, “Future viewers should come to the Theatre with an open mind and to embrace the performance. I feel that their reaction should be one familiarity. I hope that most students will feel a connection to their cultural roots.”