Show deals with diversity in America

“Faces of America,” a one-person show dealing with issues of diversity, was performed in the Lenhart Grand Ballroom Tuesday night. Shaheen Vaaz performed as nine different people from different ethnicities, races and religions.

The show started with Vaaz talking about the labels for different generations and that the new millennium generation is in need of an identity.

She then acted out nine different scenes. Each scene had a different character and a different story. The characters Vaaz played were all based on real people with multiple ethnicities and their struggle to be recognized as Americans.

Some of these characters included a black man struggling to overcome stereotypes even though he has a Ph.D. and an East Indian American woman who is raped by her classmates.

She also played a Japanese-Hungarian girl who learns of her heritage through her grandfather’s story of immigration to America and his internment in Japanese-American war camps. “These are people’s stories and I want every one of them to be heard,” Vaaz said.

She concluded the performance by saying the new millennium generation should be termed “fuzzy,” because there are so many people that have mixed cultural backgrounds.

While “Faces of America” did not pack the ballroom, those that attended enjoyed the performance.

“I felt the play was very informative and I was impressed with the characters she played,” Kristin Coombs, senior, said. “It really opened my mind to different experiences,” Trisha Reed, senior, said.

The script was written by Colin Cox and his wife, Fran de Leon, who conducted interviews with people from around the country and presented their stories in “Faces of America.” The play is performed across the nation at colleges and universities, and organizations and companies often use “Faces of America” for diversity training.

The event was sponsored by Orientation and First Year Programs and the Office of Campus Involvement.