WMU News

'Spinning Into Butter' is drama about racism

March 18, 2002

KALAMAZOO -- A provocative new play will have its West Michigan premiere this month on the WMU campus.

"Spinning Into Butter," by Rebecca Gilman, is built around the premise of how racial acts provoke new thoughts. It runs Thursday, March 21, through Sunday, March 24, and Thursday, March 28, through Saturday, March 30, in the Multiform Theatre of the Gilmore Theatre Complex.

Shows are at 8 p.m. March 21 through 23 and 28 through 30. A matinee performance is at 2 p.m. March 24. For tickets call 269 387-6222. Ticket office hours are noon to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and two hours prior to each performance.

The play unfolds when a quiet college campus is disrupted by a series of racist acts against one minority student and the faculty and student body become entangled in a debate over identity and cultural significance. The powerful play asks questions that are often thought, but rarely uttered.
Von Washington, multicultural theatre, is directing the play.

"There comes a time in all of our lives when we have to figure out what is best for us each, individually," Washington says. "Even though this is considered a good thing, it is not easy to get what is best for you."

On the surface, viewers see racism in America. But Washington's evaluation is that the play is much more about individuals trying to get in a position to do what is best for them and, in doing so, sometimes they run into the bare truth about themselves.

Washington believes this play to be a throwback to philosophy. It reveals how a person begins to evaluate the world from an objective perspective instead of a subjective one.

Washington hopes to guide his young performers toward the gift of objectivity because they are so subjective. He states that through this play he also has learned more about himself.

"In my objective view, I learned something clearly about my subjective view," he says. "Things aren't always as they seem. How can you assure yourself your view is accurate?"

Washington sums it all up by comparing life to a game of cards.

"In all cases, aren't some cards hidden?" he asks. "There are cards we can't play in the daily game. And what happens when you do play those cards? It is a delicate card game we play, this life thing."

The production will feature seniors Hilary Hernandez as Sarah Daniels and Joseph Schiltz as Ross Collins. The ensemble includes Kristen Padilla, Andrew Luther, Dan Spagnuolo, Rob Lombardo, Aaron Adamkiewicz, Robyn Williams and Andres Barba.

The design team includes Christina Killmar as scenic designer, Chelsea Osinski as costume designer and Evan Lewis as lighting and sound designer.

Media contact: Shauna Thieman, 269 387-6222, shauna.thieman@wmich.edu

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