March 4, 2015
By Rachel Rogol
Lola Fadulu ’17 rehearses a scene from Destiny. See more photos via Flickr.
Daejione Jones ’15 is writer and director of a one-act play titled Destiny, set at Amherst College. The play centers on an Amherst student named Destiny, who, when not on campus, experiences chronic homelessness and must live on the street.
Jones, a theater and dance major and pre-med student from Oakland, Calif., describes the character as “a cipher to the members of her community back home and at her new school.” Destiny is somewhat in limbo between two disparate worlds: the academic institution she attends and the underprivileged neighborhood she calls home. “She’s a member of both communities without being or feeling a part of either," says Jones. "For her hometown, she’s Amherst. For Amherst, she’s her hometown.”
In writing about this struggle, Jones says, she aims to portray “a real experience on this campus.” That is, not all Amherst students come from places of privilege. Not all students come from homes they feel safe going back to between semesters. Her goal in telling this story in this setting is “to pinpoint a problem that a lot of people don’t know exist in these types of places.”
When casting the play, Jones put out a call to student actors who “identify as black or brown.” Though the play isn’t necessarily about race, she says “it’s inherent to the piece.” As one of a group of students who organized last semester’s Black Lives Matter Awareness Week, and an advocate of Amherst's Day of Dialogue on Race and Racism that took place in January, Jones felt it was important to embody the essence of the Black Lives Matter movement in her own work. “There’s not enough representation of black and brown bodies anywhere,” she explains. “I wanted to see the diversity in my class represented on the stage.”
Overall, Jones presents a tragic and emotional story that “doesn’t necessary wrap up nicely.” Her characters face injustice, intolerance and discrimination, and ultimately, disadvantage. “I pose a problem, and I don’t offer a solution,” says Jones. “I hope people who see these issues presented on stage will walk away thinking, ‘What could we do now? What should we do now?’”
See Destiny, written and directed by Daejione Jones ’15, on March 5, 6 and 7 at 8 p.m. in Webster Hall, Studio 3. Admission is free, but reservations are recommended. Call the box office at 413-542-2277.