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Unmasked Case

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Addiction, abuse, isolation, homelessness and dereliction are all considered among the most severe social diseases that are attacking our society today. Through the wonderful performance of "Unmasked", which I watched during the Fringe Festival on the 2nd of September on the south side of downtown Chicago, the ingenious actor and writer, Curtis Drake Shepard, passes a message, through his performance, that "everybody wears a mask; it's important that we take them off and discover that we're all the same and that we all want to be loved and accepted and respected." This brutally honest performance not only serves as a substance for addiction but also as a catalyst for all those painful experiences that hold many of us as hostages to the painful past. I truly think that this performance, with the text it included, serves as a facilitator which reaches out to our souls and eases the recovery journey for too many pain prisoners.

Throughout the performance, the performer emphasizes the importance of justice on earth. Even though the performer played eight different characters during the sketch, each character was represented or presented differently. In the beginning of the sketch, the performer represented a healing and recovering drug addict who finally makes it to heaven. During those scenes, the character seemed very disappointed in his life and his family after his older brother made the decision to leave him alone. Thus, to express his deep sadness, the performer chose to speak with a very soft and sad crying voice which is a tool used by the performer to pass a message. Additionally, the character expressed his loneliness and sorrow through tears, screams and even prayers (a lot of body language).

During the first scenes as well, the character kept repeating many touching phrases, such as: "nobody knows how I feel inside...", "I can't climb mountains, and I can't swim lakes ... but one thing I'm sure about that I will still make more mistakes". Nonetheless, as the performance goes on, the actor and writer Curt Shepard presents, with a great deal of freedom, seven other characters that seemed to influence and affect the main character he was representing (a black young recovering adult who makes his way to heaven). All of the other characters, such as the abortion kid, Romeo, St. Louis etc., aimed to emphasize God's unconditional love and support for his believers. As the performer presented the other characters, he managed to change his voice and body language accordingly in order to pass the message of the performance to his audience. To express the switching of characters during this open performance, the performer used a soft crying voice for the abortion baby, a thick Italian accent for Romeo and a soft angelic voice for St. Louis.

Through the interaction between those characters, which were all presented



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