ASU Herberger Institute alumni, students present online monologue series on racism


Danielle Munoz

Cadenza Theatre, which was co-founded by Arizona State University Herberger Institute alumni, is set to present the online monologue series “We Cried Long Before the Teargas,” in response to racism in the United States, at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, July 18 via YouTube

To create the production, Cadenza Theatre asked writers two questions: “How have you thrived in spite of racism?” and “How can we defeat racism on a personal and systemic level?”

Participates then wrote pieces and are now collaborating with three directors — Tori Gaines, Katie Farrell and Sarah Tan — to share their stories. Most pieces will be shared/performed by their original author.

The monologues included experiences dealing with “microagressions to open discrimination to how the artists managed to survive racism's insidious impact,” Gaines said. 

“I feel incredibly honored to be a part of a show that highlights what Black vulnerability, Black joy and Black truth encapsulate at a time where it seems only Black tears, and Black suffering, is amplified,” ASU alum Leslie Campbell said. “I am particularly proud to be a part of what I believe is a collective effort on part of my generation to amplify voices of healing and what it means for the diaspora. I will be participating in the show as a cast member performing a monologue written by the lovely Jasmine Williams.”

“We Cried Long Before the Teargas” features five ASU students and five alumni who are participating as writers, performers and directors.

The show is part of Cadenza Theatre’s goal of giving voice to people. 

In a statement, the founders and artistic director council said, “We had the idea to start a theater company emphasizing live virtual performance of short works and monologues that give voice to people not heard often enough in theater. It is our aim to hold space for the necessary conversation about race in our world by inviting in a diverse group of writers to share their own experiences with racism in ‘We Cried Long Before the Teargas.’ We hope it is an opportunity to build community and healing.”