A student-produced play evokes emotions from crowd

Written By Sara Cronin, Co-Copy Desk Chief

“Glitter in the Snow,” an original play written and directed by Zetra Goodlow, left audiences floored after the play’s three-night debut this past weekend. Lawrence Hall 200 was packed as audience members laughed and danced together, stared at scenes in front of them with tear-filled eyes, and clapped ceaselessly as the cast members took their final bow.

The production touched on the theme of sex trafficking, and, although an uncomfortable subject, “Glitter in the Snow” sent home a powerful and moving message thanks to its brilliant playwright Goodlow, a junior performance and practice major.

Goodlow explained that she originally wrote “Glitter in the Snow ” as a one-act for her playwriting class. After her classmates were amazed by what she had written, Goodlow decided to expand her work into something more.

“I just went to figure out what I could do to make it happen because I feel like [sex trafficking] is happening so much today, it would be almost stupid not to touch material like that in today’s world,” Goodlow said. “It’s like going to a battle without a gun.”

Instead of going through Pinnacle Productions in order to put on her play, Goodlow decided to go through the Black Student Union (BSU). However, the process of putting the play together was not initially an easy process for Goodlow.

“I held auditions, but only two people showed up to my original call. Instead of getting sad and moping about it, I thought [to myself] ‘go out there and get your own cast,’ and that’s what I did,” Goodlow said. “I went to really strong and powerful actors and dancers and thought ‘I’m just going to wing it and see if they say yes,’ and then they said yes.”

The play featured an extensive cast filled with captivating dancers and a talented group of actors who brought Goodlow’s original characters to life.

Shannon Williams, a sophomore acting major, played the lead in “Glitter in the Snow” as Willow, a senior in high school who ends up in a sex trafficking incident with her friend Gee Gee after a man slips something into both of their drinks during their night at prom. The play follows Willow as she experiences the traumatic effects that follow her sex trafficking experience, and it shows firsthand how her relationship with both her mother and Gee Gee changes because of the trauma she experienced.

Goodlow explained that she created the play to put emphasis on a subject that is normally kept in the dark and not addressed in today’s society as it should be.

“When we’re on our cell phones, we just scroll, scroll, scroll, see missing girl, and then just keep scrolling,” Goodlow said. “It’s just become second thought to us and so my play is you following that person without having the chance to scroll.”

Although some scenes did provide comic relief, such as the funny mother-daughter banter in Willow’s bedroom or the slow-moving, weird-walking teacher that doesn’t know how to get off of the phone with the school’s principal, there were also scenes in the play that made the entire room hold their breath.

“Glitter in the Snow’s” sex trafficking scene was one of the most intense and powerful scenes in the entire play. The scene was not inappropriate, but was sensitive in a way that made its audience want to squirm and cover their ears, or even want to look away as the dancers circled Willow, breathing heavily with an eerie look of determination. The scene made the audience feel as if they were there and part of the scene themselves.

“I couldn’t believe I was watching a student-written show,” Maddie Kote, a sophomore theater arts major said. “It brought me to tears; I thought it was so beautiful.”

By the end of the show after the lights came up, every audience member rose to their feet, clapping loudly and cheering. Goodlow, the final member of the play to be recognized, received an incredible amount of applause and appreciation for her work.

“I [was] speechless of how amazing it was put together and well written, I didn’t even know what to say,” sophomore theater arts major Jesse Chovanec said.

At the end of its weekend debut, “Glitter in the Snow” had a lasting impact on its audience members, empowering them to not passively scroll over another incidence of sex trafficking, but rather to wake up and become aware of issues similar to Willow’s without being able to glance away.