This weekend, an original dramedy called “Lucky, Liar, Loser” will premiere at Saint Mary’s in Moreau’s Little Theatre beginning Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. The show, which centers on the theme of violence against women, was written and is directed by Casey Whitaker, a member of The Second City — a comedy theatre in Chicago — who is this year’s annual Saint Mary’s Margaret M. Hill visiting artist in residence.After previously coming to teach some workshops at Saint Mary’s in 2015, Whitaker said she fell in love with the Saint Mary’s community.“When I started writing this play, I reached out and we started figuring out a game plan,” she said. “The topic of the play was already established before Saint Mary’s was interested — I think it is the perfect place to display it.”Whitaker defines a dramedy as a serious and dramatic play with elements of comedy. She added that originally, she did not mean for the comedy aspect to be such a major part of the show.“Violence against women is not a laughing matter — it just crept in,” Whitaker said. “Then you think about what humor is actually used for — a lot of time it’s just a cover for what’s on the inside. That’s why we are able to find the truth so quickly, it’s because we’re broken.”She said the comedy is not meant to disrespect or offset the seriousness of the topic.“It’s more of comedic relief,” she said. “ … A lot of times the characters don’t even know they’re as funny as they are. I don’t think people will think it’s disrespectful, it’s just honest and truthful.”Whitaker had originally written the show as a short-film for the Goodman Theatre in Chicago when they requested entries for a screenplay to produce. However, the Theatre never produced any of the screenplays. Last December, Whitaker rewrote the screenplay into the current dramedy in only 48 hours.“I had carried around every single scene in my head for over a year,” she said. “This project was in my head and now it’s time to do it.”Her inspiration for writing this first came when a man broke into her bedroom two years ago. Whitaker said her boyfriend happened to be there that night to fight the intruder off, but the event stuck with her.“It kind of opened my eyes to what I already knew and how this topic is handled,” she said. “It broke my heart.”Whitaker said the nine main characters in the show are based on her personal experiences and other women who were willing to tell her their experiences.“Anyone I met who was willing to tell me their story, I listened,” she said. “It’s a tribute to all the women I have met and the women who have survived and the women who aren’t ready to talk.”Based on the experiences she had in mind, she separated the nine characters into three sections with three characters in each — the lucky, the liars and the losers — and left the characters unnamed.“The different mini themes are me wanting to understand the different ways people experience violence,” Whitaker said. “I wanted the cast and the audience to know we are all these women.”The lucky are those who say they are lucky because they have not been physically abused, but instead have possibly been emotionally abused without realizing it. The liars are those who tell themselves and others they are not victims, when they are, for various reasons.Senior Olivia Jackson said she is playing one of the liars in the show.“She’s a lawyer who is outnumbered by the men at her law firm,” Jackson said. “She has to joke around to be accepted as one of the guys, even if she doesn’t agree with what they’re saying.”Whitaker said the loser section was the trickiest section to express. The losers are those who know violence is occurring but don’t do anything about it — don’t act in the moment or don’t share their survival story.“Loser is a tricky word because it’s hard to make it not sound so negative,” she said. “The actual definition is a person or thing that is put at a disadvantage by a particular situation – so it’s a temporary thing.”Gabrielle Weldy, a junior at Saint Mary’s and the stage manager for the show, said there are cast members from Saint Mary’s, Notre Dame, Holy Cross, the South Bend Community and Fischer Dance Company.“The cast of the show has 27 people total — a large cast for the small department,” Weldy said. “That’s not including all of the contributors — costume, set, sound and lighting.”The cast members of the production have been working two months to get the show to where it is now. Jackson said Whitakers work on this show has been especially admirable for that reason.“Usually we only get to spend one weekend with the Margaret Hill visiting artist,” Jackson said. “It’s nice that we’ve gotten to spend two months learning from her.”However, Whitaker said she has gotten a lot from the cast’s contributions to the production as well.“I’m an improviser so I live by the philosophy ‘yes and’ so I am open to people’s suggestion and building as a group,” she said. “This cast had to do with a lot of the shaping and what the script had to be as the final product.”Whitaker said Hannah Fischer, the owner of Fischer Dance Company in South Bend, has especially contributed to making the show what it is.“I had written in movement sequences to the show,” she said. “I have some dance training, but I would have never been able to do what Hannah did with the dance.“There are pre-filmed elements, a shadow puppet tree, a live quartet playing all the music and this modern dance element. Hannah Fischer is choreographing the elements.”Fischer graduated from Saint Mary’s in 2011 with a major in women’s studies and dance. Only six of the cast members are from her dance company; the rest are from the community.“This show is focusing on modern dance, but I’m working with a cast that hasn’t been trained in modern dance,” Fischer said. “The whole show is a combination of modern dance, theater and everyday movements in block features that look like dance”Jackson was one of the cast members who needed to adapt to the dance element.“I’m not a dancer — I knew nothing before,” she said.“We’re also using a lot of projection and shadow puppetry which as an actor I’m not always involved with, but it’s really fascinating and I haven’t seen it before. It’s been really cool to break down genre.”On the other hand, those who have been trained in dance have experienced a new element of acting. Saint Mary’s senior Margaret Davis and first year Elyse Paul said this is their first production with an acting role.“I think it’s really interesting how Casey is incorporating dance,” Davis said. “I think it brings it together — it keeps the audience thinking.” Fischer said the dance element is essential to delivering the message to the audience.“It’s a heavy topic, so the movement itself had to be simple to deal with that very complex conversation,” she said. “The movement itself is more about the intention and where you’re looking at and who you’re responding to rather than a line or the shape of the movement.”Those who come to the show who have experienced violence should not have to worry about triggers, Whitaker said.“I can’t say for sure, but I think people are going to be pleasantly surprised with how accessible the material is,” she said. “If one is a little too close to home, there’s eight more you might feel a little more connected with.”Fischer said the style of this show is unique, especially to the South Bend community.“This show is groundbreaking for South Bend,” she said. “Work like this isn’t done in the area.”Whitaker says the end may not be happy, but it is powerful.“All I can do is start a conversation and let people know they are not alone,” she said. “The message is empowerment, I don’t think anyone will leave and feel worse than they did when they walked in.”Tags: Casey Whitaker, Lucky Liar Loser, Second City, sexual assault
In addition to the violent areas in San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa, Troops and police officers perform joint security patrols in the cities of La Ceiba and Choloma as part of the effort to provide security in all of the country’s major cities. “The timely action taken by the Armed Forces and the National Police has allowed us to neutralize any threat or extension to other neighborhoods or districts,” Commissioner Saucedo said. “The control over these areas has generated confidence in the people so that they are able to stay in their homes. We are doing our best for the sake of the Honduran civil society.” M-18 depends on income from extortion and MS-13 relies heavily on micro-trafficking drugs. A gang can generate illegal profits of up to $2.5 million annually, according to the Gangs in Honduras report issued on November 20, 2015 by the organization Insight Crime. M-18 currently operates in about 150 neighborhoods and districts of Tegucigalpa, while MS-13 is in 70, according to Honduran police intelligence. In San Pedro Sula, M-18 operates in 22 neighborhoods and MS-13 in 11, according to Insight Crime. The M-18 members told the terrified residents they had 48 hours to vacate their homes. “The gang members demanded that they leave their houses along the main street because they wanted to convert it into the border between the territories controlled by Barrio 18 and the rival gang for the sale of drugs and extortion,” said Second Lieutenant Selkin Arita of the Military Police for Public Order (PMOP), the newspaper Prensa Libre reported on March 24th. A week earlier, M-18 gang members gave residents in the Reparto Lempira district, located in San Pedro Sula–Honduras’s second largest city–24 hours to vacate the area or die. “On behalf of Barrio 18 we are giving you 24 hours to vanish from this area. After that, there will be no regrets. You will see lives lost just for opening the door,” the M-18 wrote on a note in the district, according to a report by El Heraldo. By Dialogo April 15, 2016 About 100 members of the Honduran Armed Forces and National Police (PNH) provided security to civilians so they could return to their homes in a district in southern Tegucigalpa after being threatened by the violent Barrio 18 (M-18) gang. “The residents of the Las Torres district were alarmed,” PNH Commissioner Leonel Saucedo told Diálogo. “They left their homes in order to protect themselves. There was an immediate and timely intervention from both the Armed Forces and the National Police, who are maintaining a permanent presence in that district. In the end, this generated confidence among the residents of those neighborhoods.” However, the Armed Forces and PNH arrived on the scene to provide security for those who returned to their homes on March 28th, according to Commissioner Saucedo. Effective Military response “There haven’t been any problems in the districts where the threats were received,” Commissioner Saucedo stated. “We are carrying out joint prevention patrols, motorcycle and vehicle patrols, 24 hours a day. The results of the operations in Las Torres and Reparto Lempira have been successful. The presence and support of the Armed Forces in all aspects of this security work have been invaluable. When necessary, we act as coordinating Military institutions.” The M-18 began threatening residents on March 23rd, when eight gang members armed with high-powered AK-47 rifles and automatic pistols arrived “at 7:30 p.m. [in Las Torres] shooting and shouting that Barrio 18 had arrived, and that they were the new owners of that sector of the capital,” the newspaper La Tribuna reported on March 26th. Gang members entered a residence in the district, also known as El Hoyo, and interrogated the owners, asking them if they worked with the rival gang Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13). Law enforcement has made strides protecting the civilian population from M-18 and MS-13, which are responsible for much of the crime in the nation’s urban centers. For example, the 5,148 homicides recorded nationwide in 2015 were 788 fewer than the 5,936 reported in 2014. Last year, authorities documented more than 1,460 homicides in San Pedro Sula and 26 in Reparto Lempira, according to a February 2016 report by the University Institute of Democracy, Peace, and Security of the National Autonomous University of Honduras. The Military and the PMOP immediately deployed personnel to protect civilians from gang members by establishing checkpoints and roadblocks. The security forces sent to Las Torres and Reparto Lempira will be be permanent, according to Commissioner Saucedo. Security patrols The collaboration between the Armed Forces and the National Police in the fight against gangs is increasing confidence levels. “The people, upon seeing professional work that gets results and a greater commitment by the security forces of the state, have more confidence in giving information to the authorities, which allows us to carry out joint actions to arrest the people involved in these criminal organizations,” Commissioner Saucedo explained. “As they continue their joint operations, Troops and police aim to further reduce homicides and the sale and distribution of drugs. The big challenge for 2016 is to reduce the occurrence of extortion, make arrests, and dismantle the criminal organizations.”
And it didn’t take long for Liverpool to reach that win column as, in the opening 200-yard medley relay, Jack Andrejko, Curtis Merrick, Griffin Merkling and Brandon Nguyen went one minute, 38.19 seconds to hold off Watertown’s second-place 1:38.70.On his own, Brownlow swept both sprint races, tearing to a season-best 21.50 seconds to beat out Watertown’s Simon Sratton (22.08) in the 50 freestyle and also winning the 100 freestyle in 47.95 seconds, well clear of his season-best 48.61 as, again, Stratton (48.63) was second and Brandon Nguyen (49.81) took seventh place.Merkling went 1:57.92 to beat the field in the 200 individual medley, Nguyen earning fifth place in 2:09.27. In the 500 freestyle, Merkling’s 4:51.74 qualified him for the state meet in that race even as he finished second to F-M’s Quinn Smith, who prevailed in 4:48.74. Curtis Merrick, already in the state meet in the 100 backstroke, prevailed in that race in 54.33 seconds, while Andrejko was third in 58.50 seconds and Jack Hyde got fourth place in 1:00.15. and also finished second in the 100 butterfly in 54.42 seasons, a new season mark, behind Watertown’s Nate Carlos, who posted 52.21 seconds.Liverpool nearly swept the relays, with Nguyen, Merkling, Andrejko and Brownlow prevailing in the 400 freestyle in 3:19.01 to F-M’s second-place 3:21.67. In the 200 freestyle relay, Merrick, Brownlow, Ian Denny and Josh Foley were second in 1:30.57 to Watertown’s 1:28.35.Will Allen tied Baldwinsville’s John Burns for fifth in the 200 freestyle in 1:55.12, also getting fifth place in the 500 freestyle in 5:12 flat. Denny was seventh in the 50 freestyle in 23.49 seconds, with A.J. Wagner seventh in the 100 backstroke in 1:00.55 and Ryan Wilhelm 10th in the 100 breaststroke in 1:07.25.Uriy Grabovyy finished fifth in the Class A portion of the diving competition with 234.25 points. Then, in last Wednesday’s state qualifier, he ended up with 386.50 points and was 12th out of 16 finalists.Cicero-North Syracuse had Logan Petralia make his way to third place in the 50 freestyle in 22.44 seconds behind Brownlow and Stratton, with Seaver Schultz fourth in 22.45 seconds. John Harbaugh went 56.71 seconds in the 100 butterfly to finish sixth and Petralia ninth in the 100 freestyle in 50.81 seconds, just behind Schultz in 49.95 seconds.By having Petralia, Harbaugh, Schultz and Dom Bagozzi go 1:30.54 for third place in the 200 freestyle relay, the Northstars narrowly missed reaching the state qualifying standard of 1:30.12 as it would later post another third-place finish in the 400 freestyle relay in 3:37 flat.Connor Burke, who swam that event with Bagozzi, Josh Kubala and Sawyer Powell, took ninth in the 100 breaststroke in 1:07.08 as Powell was ninth in the 100 backstroke in 1:02.54.Share this:FacebookTwitterLinkedInRedditComment on this Story Tags: boys swimmingC-NSliverpool When the Liverpool boys swim team claimed the Section III Class A championship one year ago, it did so without winning a single individual or relay race.That wasn’t the case this time around.Claiming two relay events plus four individual titles, the Warriors repeated as sectional champions Thursday at Nottingham High School, gaining 381.5 points, well clear of the 263 points earned by runner-up Fayetteville-Manlius.