May 14, 2021 | LIFE | By Brigitte Arcoite | Photo by Xixi Qin
Originally having premiered on April 30, 2021 in the Cornerstone Arts Center, “three girls never learnt the way home” by Matthew Paul Olmos follows three girls — Pacifica (Vivienne Diggs ’24), Edith (Yazmine Garcia ’24), and Ivory (Abi Walls ’21) — in their journey to the green side of the mountain where they are integrated into a white school full of wealth and weather. In the first few scenes, we are made to believe their dreams can come true too; but all too soon and all too tragically, Pacifica disappears with a boy and does not find her way back.
Before Pacifica’s disappearance we see the girls experience reign in a powerful and emotionally driven scene. They soak in the rain in what can only be described as a moment of magical surrealism. It is the rain that nourishes their underfed souls after living on the dry side of the mountain for so long. As Edith says, “That rain was almost like … perfect.” Though the rain may be perfect, the story is not.
It is through the imperfect tragic story, though, that Edith and Ivory are brought together with the mother of the missing boy (Lili Whittier ’21). Though we quickly discover the racist pretense under which the mother came to the dry side of the mountain — to blame Pacifica for her son’s disappearance — we also see this tragedy help the mother begin to empathize, understand, and apologize.
In losing Pacifica, these girls also lose their home. As Pacifica tells Ivory, “Yer my home. Wasn’t you always tho’?” And yet it is through the rain that they have some semblance of a home. In the final scene, the girls come to the bittersweet realization that Pacifica is “someplace only she knows how to be.”
It is my hope that this talented team of newcomers and experts alike continue their work and continue to drive these impactful and authentic stories. This is especially true for Diggs and Garcia, who stole the show, despite this being the first Colorado College production they’ve acted in.
For the cast, crew, and audience, there is a necessity in artistic work that challenges the norm. Though this show may be officially over, it is certainly not done sharing its story. This story won’t be washed away so easily.
While Edith and Ivory long for their friend, this story likewise longs for opportunity and finds a home in each viewer that was lucky enough to be a part of the show.