Playing as Jackie Robinson at CSUSB’S “Jackie Robinson: An American Dream,” Damarea Parker was calm, and clear, but was not afraid to get aggressive to get his message across to the audience.
Robinson contemplated what it meant to be African-American and in an instant grew angry at the way his race was treated.
He dashed forward on the stage and made the audience go as far back to their seat as possible.
CSUSB Pre-Nursing major Helen Macias said, “Jackie’s character was my favorite because he performed so well.”
April of 1947 is when the world heard a name that would forever become a part of history. Jackie Robinson became the first person of color to enter the world of major league baseball and broke the color barrier.
The CSUSB theater department gave audience members the chance to experience the story of Robinson.
The play is directed by Carol Damgen and aims to show the viewer the trials and obstacles Robinson had to overcome to make his dream come true.
Damarea gave one of the strongest performances of the cast. Parker walked forward, looked at the audience and gave them a look into his own thoughts.
Macias adds that the performance was not only entertaining but exciting.
Parker brought Robinson to life and presented a character that had ambition and was determined to make a name for himself.
The story of Jackie Robinson is told through the eyes of an imaginary batboy, played by Kendal McGraw, who guides the viewer through important points in his life that lead up to his fame.
Batboy serves to provide the audience with an in depth look at scenes throughout the play that audience members might miss.
Kendal had an easy voice that audience members enjoyed, as he walked between the stage.
This gives the audience a chance to learn how each scene had an impact on Robinson and the future of baseball.
The actors give an impressive performance that takes the audience back in time to the ‘40s.
Another actor that gave a great performance was Garrett Botts.
One of the characters he plays is the manager of the Dodgers, Branch Rickey. Rickey was responsible for signing Jackie into the Dodgers and played a big role in breaking the color barrier.
Botts did a great job giving the viewer a peek into Rickey’s life and the pressure he faced from giving a colored person a chance to play in the major leagues.
Holding a cigar and with a stern look on his face, Rickey pointed at Jackie and said, “Dammit, I want you on my team and I ain’t taking no for an answer.”
Rickey’s persistent attitude and modesty gave the audience a laugh.
His authentic accent and quick tongue drew the audience in as they saw Branch Rickey come to life right in front of them.
CSUSB theater arts major Bryon Raymond said, “Garrett gave the play a very natural feel that brought the age of the ‘40s to life.”
Although the actors were given a small set, their creative use of props gave the performance more life and painted a clearer image.
The first half of the play was mainly used to introduce characters to the audience and was, therefore, slower paced.
The second half quickly made up for lost time as the energy from the actors was grew.
“It’s a homerun,” yelled the announcer as Robinson dashed through the set with all of his might.
Throughout the play there was the occasional slip up or two but the actors maintained their composure and were able to brush aside any small mistakes.
It was clear they put in a substantial amount of practice.
“If you enjoy baseball, Jackie Robinson is a must see”, said Raymond.
The play can be enjoyed by anyone, even those who are not baseball fans.