By Christian May-Suzuki
For the first time in my life, I arrived at a play not as a reporter, but as an actor. Sure, I was playing a reporter in that play, but that’s beside the point.
If there is one thing about Dan Wunsch’s “Romancing Peace” that will stick, it is the unique experience that comes with it. In many plays, the arrangement is simply a cast presenting a play to an audience.
Things were different in “Romancing Peace,” and I don’t think that is illustrated any better than through my role in that stage production. When Wunsch approached me about the play, I had zero formal acting experience.
Despite this, I found myself at the Fanatic Salon Theatre on Sunday, script in hand, ready to roll as “Walter Crondike,” TV reporter. I wasn’t the only one who wasn’t a trained actor in this play. In fact, many of the cast members were simply community members brought in to share the experiences of their livelihoods with their characters.
“Romancing Peace” follows the story of Daniel, a musician with a brother in Afghanistan, and Sara, an activist for world peace. As the two form a budding romance, Daniel slowly learns that he believes in the need for peace, and begins his journey of activism through trials and tribulations.
The play was performed in a unique podcast-style format that was as engaging as it was interesting. While it was performed in front of an audience, the entirety of the play’s plot and actions are expressed through spoken word. Your imagination would fill in the blanks, making the experience different for everyone.
Members of the audience would make their way on and off the intimate stage at the Fanatic Salon Theatre as their scenes rolled in. Another cast member simply bid his time in the audience before suddenly appearing when you least expect it. It provided a level of casual interactivity that is uncommon in traditional theater settings.
The story itself was centered around a sentiment that, while commonly held by many, is an idea that seems somewhat refreshing in 2019. The pursuit of world peace is a noble one, yet one that is seen by most as idealistic. This play is Wunsch’s expression of the sentiment that world peace is not only something attainable but something that is a necessity for humanity.