FTT will stage ‘This is Modern Art’ at DPAC // The Observer
“Watching ‘This is Modern Art’ is a chance to really think critically about how this world works for artists and artists of color, what art has to offer and what it means in the world. history and in everyday life,” the show’s lead actor Eric Ways (’18) explained.
Notre Dame’s Department of Film, Television and Theater or FTT’s production of “This is Modern Art,” directed by graduating class of 2014 Zuri Eshun, will be presented this week Wednesday through Sunday at 7:30 p.m. at the Patricia George Decio Theater at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center.
‘This is Modern Art‘ by Idris Goodwin and Kevin Coval tells the story of a group of four graffiti artists in Chicago who are ‘trying to redefine what people think of as art’, the actor and senior says Lamont Marino. The artists – Seven (Ways), Dose (Marino), Selena (junior Lyric Medeiros) and JC (senior Timothy Merkle) – have “dreams and aspirations that grow outside of the circumstances they currently live in,” said Ways, and the show follows their story.
“This show is about giving a voice to artists on the fringes,” Ways said.
The youthful show is filled with hard-hitting moments that are both funny and serious, and gives audiences a chance to engage and have fun with the characters.
“I love watching theater when the actors are really connected, having a good time, and really telling a great story with a message,” Medeiros said. “People should expect a moving story, a story that will give them a new perspective on what graffiti is and what it stands for.”
Ways added that audiences should be prepared to feel a wide range of emotions.
“Audiences must be ready to think critically. They must be ready to laugh. They should be ready to cry,” Ways said.
Ways also spoke of his excitement at working with a cast that is mostly made up of people of color and working with a director of color for the first time on a Notre Dame stage.
“I’m really excited that we, a group of people of color, can show the University what this experience is like.”
Other cast members share this joy, including Marino, who feels connected to his character, Dose, in the commonalities they share, such as being both Afro-Latinos.
“It’s super refreshing to be around people who have a free nature and who are trying to put together a show that will discuss the issues in the communities that a The all-white cast might not be able to do that because these are sensitive topics in the black community or the Hispanic community,” he said.
Alumni Eshun and Ways returned to campus to work with the FTT department and current students on the production. Medeiros is thrilled to work with industry professionals who are so open to teaching the students involved.
“Notre Dame alumni come back because they love Notre Dame, and they love teaching Notre Dame students because they are so special and hardworking,” she said.
On the other side, Ways said he was impressed by the gifted students of Notre Dame.
“Everyone has been really professional and really talented,” he said. “I’m excited to see where they go after this.”
Marino added that he was thrilled for members of the public to see the talent of Notre Dame artists and discuss important artistic topics.
“Be open-minded and prepare to be entertained for an hour and a half,” he said.
Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article incorrectly listed Marino’s class year. The Observer regrets this error.