“54: All Together Equal” opened this week at the Philadelphia Fringe Festival, showing the talent of young Temple University students. The play is a series of 17 vignettes inspired by the hit musical, “Show Boat” addressing the theme of equality. Equality is a word, a concept, and a goal that often provokes questions and controversy. What is equality? How is equality implemented? As Congress and state houses debate these questions, inequality is the painful reality of many LGBT folk.
Temple University junior, Kevin Stackhouse, directs narratives focusing on personal journeys and self-discoveries. To Stackhouse, the goal of the play is not to sell or promote an agenda. Other than a brief mention of the controversial Arizona immigration policy, the eight actors steer clear of politics. Stackhouse does not feel the need to have his audience see themselves in the characters. “You don’t have to appreciate what we are doing. But I would like people to walk away with the message that you treat people the way you want to be treated,” said Stackhouse.
Kevin Stackhouse grew up in Bucks County and graduated from Council Rock High School. He is currently a student at Temple University studying theater. Kevin ventured into theater because of a desire to tell stories and is drawn to the stage for its creative outlet. Along with producer Matt Flocco and actors Breigh Miller, Calvin Atkinson, Ashley Hall, Alex Cunningham, Shelby Loewenstern, Michael Grant, Lindsay Cunningham, Victoria Evans-Quilloin and Bob Bohnage, Stackhouse stages on “54: All Together Equal.”
Stackhouse derived the name of his performance from “Show Boat.” The first five letters, including spaces make up ‘show’ and the last four letters make up boat. The classic tale challenges social norms and tolerance in turn of the century American South. In “54: All Together Equal,” the actors hope to bring the relevance of justice and relate it today.
“54: All Together Equal” is showing at the Philadelphia Fringe Festival at the venue Arch Street Methodist Church, 55 North Broad St. Tickets are available for the Thursday night performance at 7:30 and the Friday and Saturday performance at 8:00. For more information or tickets, please visit www.livearts-fringe.org.