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Letters To The Editor Are Fundamental To Journalism

by Lorenzo Burgio and Kimberly Pena

Letters to the editor have always been submitted to newspapers as a way to incorporate the public’s perspective.

“The letters to the editor section is the prime forum of democracy in a newspaper, the place where the little guy gets to have his say,” explained poynter.org.

The option to submit a letter to the editor serves as a bulletin board for the public to share opinions or information they feel is necessary for other members of the public to know.

It’s a way for citizens to express their concerns publicly and in their own words and has historically played this role.
“Letters to the editor can be effective in influencing public opinion and legislators’ views. The ‘Letter to the Editor’ section is one of the most widely read parts of most newspapers, offering a chance to reach a broad audience. Letters to the editor can provide readers with insights on issues with which they may be unfamiliar, and can also inspire readers to take action,” explained the National Education Association.
In the late 1700s into the early 1800s, lawyer and legislator John Dickinson wrote a series of essays titled “Letters from a farmer in Pennsylvania,” that were periodically published in various newspapers throughout the 13 colonies.

The essays argued that the colonies were sovereign in their internal affairs, and Dickinson argued that taxes were being paid by the colonies in order to raise revenue for Parliament, versus through regulated trade, which he felt was unconstitutional.

The twelve letters submitted by Dickinson helped unite the colonists against the British Empire and highlighted the importance of letters to the editor.

Something that seems to be overlooked in regards to letters to the editor, is the fact that is was written by someone who is not a member of the newspaper’s staff or editorial board.

The work submitted then does not constitute as an article, but a letter to the editor, and its content is not that of the newspaper, but of the public or person who submitted the article.

The purpose of letters to the editor are to tell the newspaper what they are doing wrong, filling holes in stories they published and for citizens to simply explain perception of certain issues to the public.

“In a letter to the editor or opinion piece, you can bring up information not addressed in a news article, and can create the impression of widespread support or opposition to an issue,” explained the National Council of Teachers of English.

Therefore it will be considered unethical for any staff member of the newspaper to change the writing and the meaning of the letters to the editor. Its purpose is to provide a perspective from outside of the newspaper organization that is untouched by the paper.

For a staff member to change the meaning of the piece, is committing an injustice to the public. It is not expressing the authentic meaning of the letter and it does not provide the most detailed insight of members of the community.

“There’s some value in providing readers with a notion of what people in their community are saying and thinking… We do our best to maintain a kind of a coarse filter and err on the side of publishing something rather than not publishing it.”

However, this does not obligate the paper to publish every letter sent to the editor, it is based on the editor’s discretion on what they think is for the best interest to the paper and its readership.

 

HIV & AIDS Information Session

CCSU Women’s Center partnered with AIDS Connecticut to provide free male and female condoms.

by Cyrus dos Santos

The Ruth Boyea Women’s Center and AIDS Connecticut (ACT) held an information session to encourage safe sex and disease prevention. The event, titled “No Glove No Love,” took place in the Women’s Center lounge on the second floor of the Student Center Monday evening.

“It’s completely free,” said Sharise V. Truman, coordinator for women’s health services at Central Connecticut State University. “We’ve partnered with AIDS Connecticut, and through them we’re able to get male and female condoms for individuals as well as lubricants.”

Along with free contraceptives, ACT provided literature as well as guest speaker LaToya Tyson, ACT’s prevention program manager.

“We work on improving the life of people that are infected and affected by HIV and AIDS,” said Tyson.

One of the main goals Tyson and her colleague, Norman Lebron, aim for is emphasizing personal risk awareness. According to Tyson, many individuals are simply unaware that they are at risk for contracting HIV and lack the knowledge necessary to eliminate that risk.

“I want to work myself out of a job,” said Tyson. “The only reason I have work, is because people are still getting infected. It’s a preventable infection. It’s something that you don’t have to get.”

ACT was formed in 2013 when the Connecticut AIDS Resource Coalition and Alliance for Public Health, two organizations that began in the 1980s, merged. They are federally funded through the Department of Public Health in Connecticut. Located in Hartford, the organization provides assistance to individuals dealing with employment discrimination issues, as well as a syringe service program. ACT also offers confidential HIV testing. Information can be found at their website, aids-ct.org.

This is the second information session hosted by the Women’s Center this semester. Truman spoke about the need for a continuing conversation on the importance of safe sex. “Because some individuals may be practicing un-safe sex and that puts them at risk for contracting HIV.”

Blue Devils Beginning to Find Their Groove

by Dillon Meehan

Following last week’s string of games, Central Connecticut is beginning to find their form. Winning four of their five games this past week, the Blue Devils have now won seven out of their last nine games overall.

“You get into a little bit more of a groove, I think it’s better to say we’re evolving as a team,” Blue Devils head coach Charlie Hickey said.

On Tuesday, the Blue Devils (16-12, 7-3 NEC) came back from a 1-0 deficit in the third inning to defeat Quinnipiac 6-3.

Just a half inning later, CCSU was able to kickstart the comeback. Junior Nick Garland led off the inning by reaching safely on an error by Quinnipiac’s third baseman. The next at-bat senior Nick Landell walked, while fellow senior Franklin Jennings moved the runners over with a sacrifice bunt.

With runners on second and third, freshman Chris Kanios grounded out at third to score. Garland and Landell would score on a wild pitch during the following at bat, giving the Blue Devils a 2-1 lead.

The Blue Devils extended their lead in the forth inning. With the bases loaded and no outs, junior Sean Udris grounded into a double play allowing fellow junior Ron Jackson to score, giving the Blue Devils a 3-1.

CCSU would extend their lead in the fourth inning to 5-1, with hits from junior Ryan Costello and Landell.

“The emergence of Ryan Costello was big for us Tuesday,” said Hickey. “He delivered with a clutch hit for us to win the ballgame.”

In the bottom of the seventh, Jennings practically scored by himself. He reached first safely with a leadoff bunt, and proceeded to steal both second and third base before scoring on a throwing error by the catcher.

With two outs in the bottom of the ninth Quinnipiac hit a two-run home run to make it 6-3 but were unable to retake the lead.

Freshman Andrew Braun started for the Blue Devils and completed three innings, allowing only one run and two hits. Arik Sypher came on in relief for the final six innings, allowing only two runs and three hits.

“With conference games losing, trying to maximize pitching depth is crucial,” said Hickey of the ability to . “Arik Sypher continued to throw strikes and continue to take advantage of their aggressiveness. The more versatility and more depth you have, the better you’re going to be, that’s what we are striving for.”

Following Tuesday’s game, the Blue Devils went on the road for a four game series against LIU-Brooklyn, winning three of the games.

The Blue Devils won Friday’s opener shutting out LIU-Brooklyn 5-0.

It was the Blue Devils third shutout in NEC play this season.

The Blue Devils started the scoring off in the third, when freshman Buddy Dewaine walked with the bases loaded. On the next at bat, Costello singled to score two runs to extend the lead to 3-0.

Costello would get another RBI in the fifth inning, when he launched a double to left field to score junior Dean Lockery, extending their lead to 4-0.

CCSU would add their final run in the eight, when junior Ron Jackson singled in Jennings who had tripled to center field.

Senior Brendan Smith pitched eight shutout innings, allowing seven hits.

Saturday saw both teams split the doubleheader. The Blue Devils won the opening game 9-8, scoring all of their runs in the sixth inning.

In the top of the sixth, the Blue Devils were trailing. Freshman TT Bowens started the comeback with a pinch hit single to score junior Dylan Maher. With the score at 5-1, four singles from Mitch Guilmette, Jennings, DeBrosse and Kanios to score four more runs.

Following that, the bases were still loaded with no outs. With the score tied 5-5, Lockery earned a walk with the bases loaded to score a run, as Costello lined a double off and cleared the bases to make it 9-5.

The Blue Devils offensive inefficiencies reappeared for the second leg of the doubleheader, when they were only able to score four runs off of nine hits.

The Blue Devils trailed 4-1 in the fifth inning before Bowen’s third home run of the season tied the game. But the Blue Devils could not complete the comeback, as LIU would add another two runs in the bottom of the fifth to secure their lone win in the series.

Muslim Student Association Holds Immigration Panel

by Cyrus dos Santos 
Amongst a family from Syria, a student from Bosnia and others, Central Connecticut State University students came together Monday evening to raise awareness and voice their concerns of the growing intolerance for Muslims in America.
Amid further action from President Donald Trump to ban the entrance of immigrants from predominantly Muslim Countries, CCSU students gathered for an open-forum discussion on a variety of issues hosted by the Muslim Student Association.
We want to bring awareness to who we are, and how it affects us in society,” said MSA President Isra’a Alsaqri. “And with Trump being our president, how that affects us.”
Students from CCSU’s theater department read from the “Gaza Monologues,” a dramatic look into the suffrage within the Gaza Strip.
Although the concentration on Muslims in the news tends to be focused on The Middle East and Africa, students from predominately Muslim populations in Europe came to speak.
“We didn’t come here for a better life,” said CCSU junior, Semra Efendic. “We came here to have a life.”
Efendic, a refugee from Bosnia, came to the United States in 2001 after her native country was torn by war. “Everyone’s scattered, my family included.”
 Efendic’s family was able to escape their turmoil due to a lottery that her mother entered the family in.
Guests of the open forum included a family of refugees from Syria. The family of nine arrived in December of 2016.
Muhamed and Aysha Marri arrived in New Britain with their seven children, ages 1-11, through Catholic Charities. Catholic Charities, a non-profit out of Connecticut, mission is “Motivated by Christ’s social teachings and respect for the richness of diversity,” according to their web site. They stand to promote diversity and equality.
Catholic Charities provides the Marri’s with food and rent for six months while they get settled into their new surroundings. After that, “they are on their own,” according to the family’s translator, Ghoufran Allababidi, a Syrian immigrant who came to the United States in 2000.
The children that are of age, have enrolled in the New Britain Public School System, “with difficulties, of course,” said Allababidi.
Through translation, the family expressed that they miss their family, “because they left everything behind,” said Allababidi.
At the onset of the war in Syria, Marri and his family fled to Turkey, where they lived in a refugee camp. Three of the children were born there. There was no school and they were living in a tent as, Allababidi explained.
She spoke openly of a fear of the regime in Syria and that most refugees believe “the walls have ears.”
  After three years in the camp, and two more years of extensive vetting, the family was finally allowed to enter the United States.
“Do these kids really deserve to live in turmoil?” Ahmad Badr asked as the conversation quickly returned to Trump’s recent actions.
Trump signed a revision of his controversial immigration ban, known collectively as the “Muslim Ban,” Monday morning. The revised law now excludes Iraq from the travel ban as well as the provision that gave priorities to religious minorities from the remaining banned countries.
Trump’s ban on Syrian refugees, which was formally categorized as “indefinite,” has now been given a 120-day ban, according to reports from The New York Times. The ban will be up for review after the 120 days.
 Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen still remain on the list of Trump’s travel ban.
 CCSU President Zulma Toro released a statement after Trump’s original executive order, that said, “I want to say on behalf of the university that we stand in compassionate solidarity with our Muslim students and colleagues.”

Faceboook Begins Fighting Fake News

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Major steps have recently been taken by Facebook to combat the spread of fake news and ultimately help decrease the amount of misinformation the public is exposed to.

The new feature on the social media sight flags stories that are disputed by the Associated Press and Snopes.com

When someone tries to share an article that is disputed, Facebook displays a warning that informs about the user that the information is disputed. Then a second pop-up that lets the user know Facebook is adhering to Poynter’s non-partisan code to distinguish that the article may have false information.

Facebook then links the user to pages on Snopes.com or on the AP website that explain why the article is labeled as disputed.

Individuals are able to ignore these messages and still post the article on their timeline, but directly below is a warning that says, “Disputed by Snopes.com and Associated Press.”

This feature apparently began a few months ago, but recently is making its appearance on social media where users are noticing it.

The model that Facebook chose to inform the public about fake news, and to tame the spread of fake news throughout social media, could be what the country needs.

Individuals who want to share questionable articles could be deterred if they are repeatedly informed that it is disputed by reputable fact-checkers.

This combats the spread of fake news from two angles; by informing the individual sharing the news and anyone who may come across in on Facebook.

This lessens the possibilities for people to become misinformed or play a part in the spread of fake news.

As it is a progressive step in the fight against fake news, this model of sifting out misinformation needs to be seen on other social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram.

This model could even be seen going as far as flagging memes that spread made-up facts and ideas.

Among the most recent flagged articles that was seen and shared on Facebook was a fictionalized story: “Trump’s Android Device Believed To Be The Source of Recent White House Leaks,” from “The Seattle Tribune.”

The story carried the disputed label with the links to AP and Snopes.com explaining why the story was not real.

According to USA Today, the articles that do end up getting flagged not only have the label, but they also get pushed down on people’s newsfeed.

As sharing regardless of the disputed label is a personal preference and there is no clear solution to stopping that in the near future, hopefully more and more Facebook users will get the hint to just not share it at all.

If Facebook users respond the right way, only then should other social media platforms follow Facebook’s lead.

A Concern for Medicaid

Republicans in Congress and President Donald Trump are making an effort to alter the Medicaid program by issuing block grants, or per capita enrollment, to states.

This would differ drastically from how the funding is currently. “Medicaid now operates as either a negotiated fee-for-service system or a monthly rate per Medicaid enrollee. The federal government pays a portion of the expenses, and state government pays the other portion,” wrote usnews.com.

Ultimately the federal government pays for the needs of its beneficiaries. This results in the federal government covering about 57 percent of the states’ Medicaid costs, according to The Fiscal Times.

A block grant is a specifically structured federal funding with a set sum of money that will be given to the states in a designated period of time.

Under a per capita enrollment, the federal government would only reimburse the states for a specific amount per enrollee.

Whether states are issued block grants or per capita enrollment, Medicaid benefits are going to be impacted and will affect many elderly and disabled individuals. This would also impact children and adults who were unfortunate enough to be born with a disease, such as cystic fibrosis or kidney disease, that prevents them from working.

The change in Medicaid funding is part of Trump’s effort to save the federal government money, which he believes will leave more power in the hands of the state.

Medicaid is a federal program that provides healthcare funds for nearly 70 million Americans, according to the Chicago Tribune.

This raises concern in Connecticut because there are more than 765,000 Connecticut residents who receive Medicaid and $2 million at stake with the proposed cuts, according to the New Haven Register.

“Eliminating the federal dollars for experimenting with payment methods and care delivery structures would cost Connecticut billions,” said Lieutenant Nancy Wyman, co-chair of the Access Health CT board of directors to the New Haven Registrer.

The funds states are receiving for Medicaid should not be tampered with. They are used to help immense numbers of elderly and disabled individuals nationwide. Tampering with the funding to save the federal government money would impact the largest insurer in the country and the 73 million people they currently cover, two-thirds of which are in nursing homes.

There needs to be more caution taken when it comes to altering the dynamics of Medicaid and who that will impact. There seems to be an unwritten obligation that needs to be upheld in which Medicaid is maintained, or even improved in order to ensure all who rely on it are properly receive the care they need.

Lady Blue Devils Search For Answers

by Humera Gul

The Central Connecticut State University Women’s Basketball team had a tough go against Sacred Heart, digging a deeper hole in the Northeast Conference standing. The lady Blue Devils lost 82-61 to the Pioneers Saturday.

CCSU now moves to 9-15 overall, and 8-5 in the Northeast Conference.

The Blue Devils scored 25 points off of 22 turnovers committed by the Pioneers. Points were made by nine different players, showing CCSU’s versatility and chemistry on the court.

Kiana Patterson was 5 for 13 from the field, 3 for 9 from the arc and 3 out of 3 on foul shots. Patterson led the league in points, scoring at 22. She also had a rebound, an assist and a steal. Ashley Chin also had a decent game, shooting 4 for 6 from the field and 1 of 3 from the arc. She also had 1 assist and 2 steals. In total, Chin had 11 points total and was the second highest scorer for the Blue Devils.

Hannah Kimmel led the pioneers on Saturday. She was 7 of 14 from the field, 4 of 7 from the arc and 1 out of 2 on foul shots. She also had an astounding 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal and a block. Kimmel finished the game with 22 points. Katherine Haines also played well, tailing Kimmel slightly. Haines was 9 of 14 from the field, 1 of 2 from the arc and 3 out of 4 for foul shots. She finished with 19 points.

One of the major issues for the Blue Devils in the second half was fouls. Multiple starters got fouls in the second half. On top of that, Sacred Heart was great on foul shots and capitalized on the opportunities.

Sacred Heart finished the day with 27 of 54 from the field, 13 of 23 from the arc and 15 out of 20 in foul shots. All averages were 50 percent or better. CCSU finished the day with 21-64 from the field, 6 of 26 from the arc and 13 of 24 in foul shots, a major disappointment considering the team was shooting under 33 percent from the field and the arc. Field goals percentage was 32.8 and 23.1 percent from the arc. CCSU will look to improve as the season dwindles down.

Sacred Heart moves to 13-11 overall and 10-3 in the Northeast Conference. CCSU will close out the road game series on Monday, February 13, at Fairleigh Dickinson at 7 p.m. The next home game will be this coming weekend, hosting Robert Morris at 1 p.m. at the Breast Cancer Awareness game.

Spoken Word: Kyla Lacey

by Christie Stelly

Kyla Lacey, a spoken word artist, performed at Central Connecticut State University Monday night, talking openly about her experiences with domestic violence and abuse.

Kyla writes poetry for a living, but does not use her education in the usual way. “I have a degree and I don’t really use it. I’ve never really been able to live a normal life,” she said. She has performed at over 100 colleges and universities in over 30 states.

“I think I just hope to inspire people to do something that makes them happy. Poetry makes me happy,” said Lacey. “It was something I was doing for free and now people pay me to do it.”

Students joined together to listen to Kyla perform about real life situations that she has found herself in.

“I’m part of a woman gender studies sexuality class and I’m also trying to become a victim advocate of some sort,” said CCSU student Olivia Doolan. “I’ve never heard of a spoken word artist, I just want to know more about it.”

Some of her favorite poems that she performed varied from talking about bad relationships to talking about her curly hair that she has learned to embrace.

She performed a poem about a conflict that she had been having with a friend. “Keep your friends close, but dispose of those that consult with your enemies. I loved real hard when I was hardly loved. It was my fault; I can’t blame anyone for my bad taste.”

A less serious poem about her hair still provided a message about learning to love yourself and embrace it. “My curls used to have to be shy and hide in middle school. Please know that my curls are unapologetically black. They’re not #teammixedchicks, they’re not racist.”

Being a survivor of domestic violence, she hopes that her story will help someone else. “It takes a woman seven times after coming back to a domestic violence relationship before she leaves,” Lacey said. She was in a relationship for four years, with violence beginning after the first year. “Nothing I did was ever good enough for him. You cannot love somebody into being a better person,” she said.

One out of four women will be victims of domestic violence in their lifetime. Opening up about her domestic violence issues made for an emotional room and allowed students to understand the importance of always loving and putting yourself first.

“I’ve been through a lot but I’ve learned to laugh and make money off of it. Turn my lemons into lemontini,” said Lacey.

Kyla has been nominated for numerous awards, including Campus Activities Magazine Best Female Artist. You can find her on Twitter @kyla_lacey or on Instagram @frequentfly_her.

Happening Around The World: South Korean President Facing Call to Resign

by Alonso Velasquez

Tens of thousands of South Koreans protested in Seoul last Saturday, demanding President Park Geun-hye to resign. This comes after allegations that Park revealed classified secrets to a  close friend not related to the government.

The crowd gathered in Gwanghwamun square, where it was estimated that anywhere from 45,000 to 200,000 citizens held signs saying “Park Geun-hye out” and “treason by a secret government.” Some stated that if Park doesn’t step down, the government should try to impeach her. The protest came a day after a teary Park apologized on national television for the scandal, stating that it was “all my fault.” In response to the outrage, she has removed prime minister and second-in-command Hwang Kyo-ahn and has reshuffled her cabinet, nominating three new senior officials. The nominees will have to be appointed by the national parliament. Many opposition politicians  are also requesting that the parliament should name the next prime minister.

The friend in question is Choi Soon Sil, who was arrested by prosecutors earlier in the week with charges of fraud and abuse of power. Choi, daughter of a late  pseudo-Christian leader and a longtime friend of Park, is believed to have received around $70 million from businesses pressured by the government to help fund her. It is alleged that Choi repeatedly meddled in government affairs such as making policy, appointing ministers and even picking the president’s clothing. The scandal began when Korean network JTBC uncovered that Choi had received secret documents via a tablet.

Due to her “shamanic” traditions, she is seen as Korea’s “Rasputin.”

Choi’s late father was a spiritual mentor to Park’s father, who was former President Park Chung-hee. After the elder Park was assassinated, the younger Park was alleged to have been greatly influenced by the younger Choi. In Park’s inauguration, she stood close to a tree with colorful silk purses, reportedly at the request of Choi to bring prosperity. However, Park denies participating in “occultic rituals” with Choi in Seoul’s presidential palace, nicknamed the “Blue House.”

Many Koreans are outraged over the scandal and feel like Park has been a puppet, with Choi really leading from the shadows.

Park currently sits at a record low five percent approval ratings, down from 30 percent before the scandal. Park has 15 months remaining in her term, with the next election scheduled for December 2017. If Park is to resign, law dictates that there must be an election within the following 60 days. While several politicians have asked Park to step down, opposition parties have resisted going full-force, fearing that it could negatively alter next year’s scheduled election.  Park became her nation’s first female president after winning a close race in 2012. She has regularly been criticized as being a dictator’s daughter as her father ruled the country as a military strongmen from 1962 until 1979.

Two former presidential aides, An Chong Bum and Jeong Ho Seung, have also been arrested for allegations that they helped fund Choi.

There were also protests in smaller cities like Gwangju, where 3,000 citizens protested.

‘We Won’t Pay! We Won’t Pay!’

By Kaitlin Lyle

Looking closely into the issues of today, the Central Connecticut State University Theatre Department achieved an impeccable production in beginning its 2016-17 season with Dario Fo’s “We Won’t Pay! We Won’t Pay!” Following a guest lecture by Ron Jenkins, the show’s translator, in September and a series of steadfast rehearsals, the culmination of the cast and crew’s dedicated work was discernable in last week’s performances.

Directed by Jan Mason, the story behind “We Won’t Pay! We Won’t Pay!” is a testimony to the individuals who, driven by hunger, struggled to survive during the rampant inflation of the 1970’s. The play focused on the lives of two married couples and their reaction to the “autoriduzione” movement that struck Italy as well as the United States. After making the decision to pay the prices of their choosing, the couples maneuver within troublesome (and frequently hysterical) situations in order to get by. Within the first few minutes of Act One, the show’s title arose in the chant of the women refusing to pay the rising costs of their groceries. As the fiery heroine Antonia proclaims, “It was the shopping spree to end all shopping sprees! Not because we didn’t pay for the stuff, but because suddenly we were all there together with the courage to stand up for ourselves.” From the moment Antonia and Margherita decide to react against the injustice, the ensuing turn of events produced a riotous narrative that demonstrated the buoyant nature of the human spirit during a time of economic hardship.

The show ran from Oct, 11 to the 15 at the Black Box Theater of Maloney Hall, including two preview showings on the 11 and 12 and a free morning matinee on Oct. 14. The CCSU rendition of Dario Fo’s political farce featured a cast of five, including one performer who took on several roles that intermingled uproariously throughout the plot.

Actor Dustin Luangkhot exhibited a remarkable talent for comedy in playing a “utopian subversive” sergeant, a rigorous trooper, an undertaker with an Italian accent, and a senile grandfather, much to the bewilderment of Nick Carrano’s Giovanni. Senior Carrano conveyed a majority of the show’s feverish monologues with an artistic zeal, delighting the audience with his eccentric interpretations of the surrounding events. When paired with Orianna Cruz, who starred as the inventive Antonia, the duo was as dynamic in their lively interactions as the late Lucille Ball and Ricky Ricardo.

While rehearsing the nonsensical humor of Dario Fo’s work, Orianna Cruz found Fo to be an animated playwright, especially in his ability to fuse comedy with strong political meanings. “It is unusual, but very liberating because of the fact that, right now, people perform comedy just for the sake of entertainment and it kind of gets old after a while,” said Cruz.

In agreement, actor Kendra Garnett, who starred in the play as Margherita, described “We Won’t Pay! We Won’t Pay!” as “commedia dell’arte.” “It isn’t just a comedy in that the only reason to be there is to be funny,” said Garnett. “It was also made to get a point across and it has a big message for everyone to take with them.” In her fourth mainstage production, sophomore Garnett was vibrant in her movements onstage as her character reacted to the madcap situations around her.

Alongside Margherita, her husband Luigi, played by senior Alex Szwed, shifts from internalizing the newfound societal inequalities to going along with his companions’ absurd means for survival, particularly in his scenes with Giovanni. The experience of “We Won’t Pay! We Won’t Pay!” marks Szwed’s final mainstage production with the CCSU Theatre Department as well as his last collaboration with director Jan Mason. “I’m so grateful for this theater department,” said Szwed. “It has instilled great confidence in me, it has opened so many doors for so many great relationships, and I’m very sad and gracious in leaving.”

As an unexpected surprise, the cast and crew paid a kind tribute to the memory of playwright, Dario Fo, who passed away in Milan last Thursday, during their official opening night on Oct. 13. “He was definitely in our thoughts all day,” said Garnett, who observed that Fo’s passing altered the mood of their performance onstage. “It felt like we were definitely more doing it for him.”

Throughout the hysteria of the storyline as well as its timeless themes of desperation and determination, “We Won’t Pay! We Won’t Pay!” created a lasting impression on its audience, delivering riotous laughter for their enjoyment and inspiring them with the plays underlying message. For a production that pinpoints the rising cost of living, the talent found at the Black Box Theater last week was undoubtedly worth the price.