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‘Sadie’ debuts at Lisser

Photo by Lisa Johansen

On Feb. 9, the Mills Black Women's Collective hosted Mills alumna Ophelia Stringer's original theatrical performance, 7 Sides of Sadie. The show addressed a number of issues in the United States that affect everyone, but women in particular. The performance dealt with issues of sexuality, war, poverty and race. It alternated between dance, song and stand-up comedy, tying them all together in a fluid fashion.

The show opened with a choreographed dance performance by members of the Black Women's Collective. One of the dancers, Ashlie McDonald, then introduced the play, explaining the meaning of Sadie. "Sadie represents what every woman has been and will be," said McDonald.

Following the introduction, the audience was introduced to both a young and old Sadie. The two actresses set a retrospective mood by performing a dance to Lauryn Hill's song "Looking Back"

The show was all about Sadie and her ideas about society and American culture. The audience first found Sadie, a high school graduate with dreams of being a chef, struggling to make it out of the ghetto.

Instead, she finds her opportunity in the Army, where she serves for four years to get money for culinary school. But Sadie's dreams of being a chef are shattered by the war when a grenade takes off four of her fingers and she is sent home.

Then Stringer lightened the mood, by coming back on stage in a suit jacket calling herself "President Sadie Bush" of the United States of America. Stringer used this opportunity to parody President Bush. "We're going to fight to the death for the few that enjoy the freedoms of America. Our children will fight to the death for our victory," she said.

Stringer continued to criticize Bush and the Iraq War throughout the play, switching back to the character of Sadie the soldier, writing letters home after being chosen for combat in Iraq.

Later in the show, Stringer questioned why black people would have to fight for the freedoms that are promised by the constitution to all American citizens. "I live in one of the many third-world countries in the United States where you're on the front lines every day," Stringer said as her criticisms turned to problems within America; problems of racism, poverty, media, body image, sexuality and religion.

"I came because I love Ophelia, and I trust whatever she creates will be awesome because talking to her is awesome. I've never seen any of her art before so I thought it would be cool, and it was amazing," junior Liz Hoover said.

Despite many technical difficulties at the beginning, the show did go on. "It was Murphy's Law, everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong," Stringer told the audience after the show. "This play was full of digital images and sounds that we just couldn't get." Despite Stringer's apprehensions, the audience never noticed the difference.