Isaiah Says, We Listen

Jesuit High School Drama has been beyond busy in the months leading up to this year’s fall play, Isaiah Says, which is unlike anything we’ve seen out of the Black Box in recent years. Isaiah Says is a documentary play about one of the most prevalent issues in our country, especially in the Sacramento area — homelessness. As a result, heavy research has been dedicated to the playwriting process.

Mr. Ed Trafton ‘84, the Artistic Drama Director here at Jesuit, recalls the extensive research process. “We have what’s called a ‘Theater of Testimony,’” Trafton said. “In other words, every line in the play has been written or said before. We conducted several interviews, gathered transcripts of city council meetings, and the entire cast spent two weeks doing research for the play.”

Despite the long hours, the cast is proud of their research and values the accuracy in the script. “We are extremely dedicated to the research aspect because we want to give something genuine to the audience, especially with something so close to home,” said David Deniro Gomez ‘19, a lead actor in the play. “We went through eight drafts of seventy-plus page scripts trying to find what works best.”

From what we’ve heard from the Director and the cast, Isaiah Says is definitely worth seeing. Countless hours of research and preparation have gone into the play, ensuring not only a stellar performance from the cast, but also a heartfelt story from the people.

“We have to do what theater allows us to do best—listen to each other’s stories with an open heart and an open mind,” said Mr. Trafton. “All we can hope is that it will inspire people to think differently. Something as simple as looking differently at the people we see on the street.”

But Jesuit Drama is not only spreading its message about homelessness through storytelling. They are also taking action. Donations and support will be given to Mercy Pedalers, a project of the retired director of Loaves and Fishes, Sister Libby Fernandez. The mobile bike-ministry is dedicated to serving the homeless in a new, innovative way. Rather than having the homeless come to them, they come to the homeless. Along with Mercy Pedalers, Isaiah Says is sure to make a difference in the lives of people all over Sacramento.

Why is it called Isaiah Says in the first place? The title of the play takes inspiration from Isaiah 58: 6-7, in which the prophet Isaiah urges us to free the oppressed, clothe the naked, and shelter the homeless. At Jesuit, which neighbors a city where too many people lack a place to call home, and where we are called to be Men for Others, this message could not be more relevant.

Isaiah is saying something. Hopefully we will take the time to listen.

Isaiah Says opens today (Nov. 2) and runs for two more weeks in the Black Box Theater. Do not miss your chance to hear the community’s eye-opening story.