THE CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE
(PREJUDICE/TOLERANCE SCHOOL TOUR)
[MARIA] female, 16-21, Maria, the center of the story, is a strong, secure, smart, sweet, high school senior who’s life is tragically ended by a senseless act of violence. She’s preparing to go to Medical School after she graduates. Her ending monologue brings audiences to tears, as we feel the pain she imagines her friends/family to have gone through upon hearing of her demise. Audiences must connect with her charisma and energy in a short time in order for the show to succeed.
[MRS. KOMINSKY] female, 16-21, Holocaust survivor who first, through present-day monologue, details her interactions with Nazis, and the painful experience of seeing her young children ripped from their beds by soldiers. We then flash back to see part of her experience in action, as she begs, pleads, and attempts to negotiate with a Commandant, the release of her three daughters. Heavy emotion, ability to cry on cue, required.
[SLAVE MISTRESS] female, 15-21, Along with her husband, the Slave Master, this woman is proud, obnoxiously patriotic, and completely unaware of the humanity of her slaves. She genuinely believes she’s “providing” for her “boy;” completely blind to the horrendous fact that she owns another human being.
[CRAIG] male, 17-21, Maria’s boyfriend; He’s charismatic, smart, funny, loving, and has a great personality that lends to the belief that Craig and Maria really can be together forever, despite their young age. He plans to attend law school after high school.
[CONSCIENCE] female, 16-21, The optimistic voice of reason and truth, the Conscience serves as narrator. The Conscience seeks to find the hope and progress of our society, even when history is hard to defend. Strong stage presence; loud, solid voice.
[THE ANTI-CONSCIENCE] male, 17-21, A narrator type character that connects various horrific historical events to each other; his cup is always half empty, and while his words make one initially think he couldn’t actually be correct about the direction of society as a whole, he backs them with facts and convincing arguments. His commanding stage presence, strong loud voice, and level of confidence allows him to convincingly represent all that is evil in the world; and he enjoys it.
[RON] male, 15-21, Ron is approached by a trio of random strangers, hell bent on clearing their neighborhood of anyone who’s lifestyle they disagree with; despite a lacking of any actual knowledge of Ron or his sexual preference (in fact, his orientation is never disclosed) he is attacked and beaten. His 4th-wall-breaking, powerful monologue brings nothing but compassion from audiences.
[NAZI] male, 15-21, This stone-cold, unfeeling, loud soldier feels nothing for his victim, in fact taking great joy in the power he holds over Mrs. Kominsky. Genuinely convinced that he’s simply carrying out his tasks, as ordered, the Nazi ranges from quiet, creepy, angry and arrogant, as he argues and justifies his actions with the Human Conscience.
[KLANSMAN] male, African-American or Hispanic, 15-21, This hate-filled, fired-up member of the KKK, is convinced that the quality of life will vastly improve once there is just one race. The character wears a white sheet, hood, and gloves, and will intentionally be played by a race that the actual character would despise.
[SLAVE] male or female, African American, 13-21, This role has no lines, but the words and thoughts that are unsaid, are heard loudly through the facial and body expressions displayed throughout. The slave helps immediately set the tone of the production, on the floor, below the feet of his arrogant slave owners who throw the character around treating their “owned property” with zero compassion.
[SLAVE MASTER] male, 15-21, Along with his wife, the Slave Mistress, he is proud, obnoxiously patriotic, and completely unaware, or simply doesn’t care about, the humanity of his slaves. He genuinely believes he’s “providing” for his “boy;” completely blind to the horrendous fact that he owns another human being.
[MR SOCIETY] male, 15-21, In this cartoonish moment in an otherwise dramatic production, Mr. Society is over-the-top, comedic, big and farcical in his delivery; he, along with his wife, Mrs. Society, are completely numb to the world around them. While eating dinner, the couple learns about a shooting. Between requests for the next course in their dinner, the couple learns that the shooting has killed a young girl in their neighborhood: Maria. They pause long enough to plan a night at the movies, and toss away the newspaper with as much care as they showed for the young death.
[MRS SOCIETY] female, 15-21, In this cartoonish moment in an otherwise dramatic production, Mrs. Society is over-the-top, comedic, big and farcical in his delivery; she, along with her husband, Mr. Society, are completely numb to the world around them. While eating dinner, the couple learns about a shooting. Between requests for the next course in their dinner, the couple learns that the shooting has killed a young girl in their neighborhood: Maria. They pause long enough to plan a night at the movies, and toss away the newspaper with as much care as they showed for the young death.
[BASHER/ATTACKER] male, 15-21, These three characters have planned their evening around the cleansing of their neighborhood, ridding their city of those who’s lifestyles they disagree with. They approach Ron, who is simply standing on a beach. After hurling insults and derogatory statements at him, they attack and beat him, leaving him to die.
[SPARKY] female, 13-18, Maria’s good friend, she works in a convenience store and is the last to see Maria before her death. Very few lines, but the dialogue leaves a lasting impression about society treats one another; priority goes to those we know and care about, over anyone else.
[MARIA’S MOM] female, 15-21, Maria’s Mom, she struggles with the knowledge that her daughter will leave the house soon, off to MIT to pursue her college career. Finding any excuse to spend as much time with her daughter before she leaves, audiences can’t help but feel her pain when learning of Maria’s death. She’s loving, funny, and obviously cares deeply about Maria and Craig.
[ROBBER] male, 15-21, A man of few words, but with perhaps the heaviest scenes, as he is the person who ends Maria’s life. For a very brief moment, we are able to see through the tough exterior of the character, down to a potentially conflicted individual who is unsure of how to deal with his feelings, and the power he holds over Maria’s life. This moment is fleeting however, as he callously kills her, walking away with a few dollars, a bag of chips, and a smile.