Crowds gathered in Olin Theatre on Thursday evening to watch the premiere showing of Professor William Cameron’s, “Intersect.” Heavily influenced by real-life experiences of seven students, the play opened discourse on racism and the difficulties minority students face—specifically African American, Hispanic and disabled students.
The cast featured W&J’s own students playing as a group of college kids facing bigotry and adversity. These plot points converged around characters such as Adam, a student working at the radio station on campus whose prejudices surfaced in a striking manner—exposing his true character. Alice, an independent, cheerful girl, suffered from muscular dystrophy. Her story showed the difficulties of campus terrain, scheduling everyday life and stigma of disability. The fraternity that the play focused on, Omega, highlighted racism within their smaller subset of campus. In the end, all of the plots come together to create an intense storyline, which is what Professor Cameron intended.
On the campus website he writes, “It became clearer to me the many ways in which our society is structured to benefit certain constituencies while disadvantaging others. And, sadly, I became more aware that all forms of prejudice remain prevalent in our society; racism, sexism and all other forms of bigotry infiltrate our world in ways that are often difficult for us to see.”
Professor Cameron brought forth his own viewpoints as well as the seven other students to create a storyline that the audience could relate to, but reflect on their own values, as well.
He goes on to state, “students of diverse backgrounds will come into conflict with one another and are forced to face their often biased perceptions of others and their honest perceptions of themselves, these are the issues I’m trying to address in the play.”
Showings from Thursday evening to the Saturday matinee had a Talkback session following the performances that allowed the audience a chance to further discover and discuss the inspiration for the play.
Through the performances and Professor Cameron’s careful crafting, the audience members were given an intense story of students facing adversity, creating a platform from which they can tell their stories.