One-Man show comes to River Market Friday

One-Man show comes to River Market Friday

Jihno "The Piper" Ferreirawill play 17 characters in his one-man show, "Cops and Robbers," Friday night at the Tuscaloosa River Market. Photo Courtesy of Emma Smith.

Sirui Shao

Jhino “The Piper” Ferreira will portray 17 different characters in his one-man play. “Cops and Robbers,” Friday night at the Tuscaloosa River Market, sponsored by The University of Alabama Honors College.

According to UA News, Ferreira is a rapper as well as a police officer in the San Francisco Bay Area. The play, which centers on a police shooting, is inspired by actual events that Piper witnessed while growing up in Oakland, California.

Emma Smith, a sophomore majoring in communication studies, spearheaded this event planning and found the play to bring to campus.

She said she wanted to bring this play to the University because it is a clear and creative way of addressing some relevant and important topics that have been developing in the nation as well as on campus. She said she believes the best part about the play is that it doesn’t offer a singular solution to solving discrimination, excessive use of force or media bias. Instead, it shines the light on every corner of society so that the audience may relate to a character or characters and then develop their own personal way of combating injustice that they see in their lives.

“My intention for bringing this play here is that the conversation will not stop after the curtains close,” Smith said. “The messages that people take away are hopefully going to be very personal, but the overarching experience of seeing the play and digesting the content is something that will join otherwise disparate corners of the University.”

Smith said she sees the experience of the production progressing to one day include participation with the audience in a discussion about the topics covered in the play.

“Eventually, we hope to have a culminating dialogue with audience members who want to participate, but that will happen after the fact,” she said. “It just so happens that Officer ‘Piper’ Ferreira and his wife, Dr. Dawn Williams, created a curriculum to compliment the messages and context of the play so I hope to continue to work with Piper and his wife to create a follow up experience that would adequately address the audience’s internal wrangling and innovative ideas that are produced from attending the play.”

Smith said it is important for students and community members to know that this play came about from Piper’s own experiences and was produced to express his own personal struggles with the duality of the issues he has faced. She said it isn’t meant to take a definitive stand and provide answers, but rather to empower the audience to examine the conflicts they are faced with and change the circumstances so that inequity or injustice of any kind can begin to be eradicated. Piper changed the system that he grew up in fear of by becoming a positive force within it, and each of his 17 characters within the play are meant to show how one voice can affect an entire system.

“It is our intention to continue the dialogue on campus about race relations, and this time we are including a national perspective,“ said Mary Lieb, president of the Honors College Assembly and a junior majoring in communication studies and advertising. “This is the first time the play will be performed East of the Mississippi, so in addition to extending the reach of the play, we are broadening the experiences of our peers in new and exciting ways. When we are able to understand and embrace the differences of one another, we are able to discover a common humanity that bonds us all together despite these complexities. As students, faculty, staff, at the core, we are all members of the UA community, and hopefully, this play will act as a reminder of that.”

Student tickets are available in the Honors College Assembly office in Nott Hall, the New College office in Lloyd Hall and Crossroads Community Center in the Ferguson Center. Limited free seating will be available. A limited number of tickets will be available at the door on the day of the event. Free refreshments will be provided at intermission, sponsored by Crossroads Community Center.