The Compass, Did it Direct You?
February 21, 2017
The jurors bicker as they sit along the table, trying to come to a conclusion. The hours drag on and on with the jurors anxiously arguing their sides. It seems as if a verdict is never going to be made. Hours later, the question still stands. Is the defendant guilty? Should she be considered responsible for her own actions?
Believe it or not, this engaging scene is from the Round Lake High School’s Black Box Theater’s production of The Compass. This was a play like none other, causing audience members to question the characters as well as themselves;This play required the audience to dig deep into their own personal morals and make an ethical decision that would shape the future for the main character, Marjan, played by Kathia Torres. The communication between the audience and actors was a unique and unbeatable experience for all involved.
Directed by Ms. Amelia Kmiec, The Compass is a play about a girl named Marjan and her recent discovery of a new app called “Compass”. This app claims it can’t predict what a user would do, it knows what they would do. Marjan puts her trust in this app and believes that Compass “knows” her, influencing her to check in with the app before making even inconsequential decisions.
Marjan writes a paper that proves how prominent gun violence is in her community, and writes an article about how easy it is for one to bring a gun to school. She introduces the article to Mr. Ferguson, her English teacher and head of the school newspaper (played by Colby Flade), but he shuts her down, saying the article could pose the wrong idea to readers and cause more problems in the community. Marjan then goes against Mr. Ferguson’s advice and shares the article with her best friend Chaz (played by Osbaldo Ozuna), and he takes matters into his own hands,sharing the article. Somehow, students began vowing to actually bring guns to school as a sign of solidarity and support for Marjan.. Scared and desperate, Marjan resorts to Compass, and asks if she would call in a bomb threat to her school. Compass tells her she would do it, so Marjan calls in the bomb threat and plants a backpack in a janitor’s closet. This gets Marjan in a lot of trouble, to the point where a trial takes place to determine whether she is responsible for the call, or if Compass is—and the theatre goers must decide on the answer.
This play touches on the important topic of teenagers and their trust in technology, as well as personal responsibility. “It taught the audience to limit technology’s interference with one’s decision making,” Sophomore Chris Ortiz reflected.
RLHS English teacher Mr. Matthew Zidron said, “No one is responsible for your decisions but you, and The Compass did a good job of proving that.”
This play dove head first into a difficult-to-talk-to-teens-about topic, and used humor to shed light on how ridiculous one looks when they are so dependent on technology that they forget to make decisions of their own. “While technology is extremely important and beneficial, there is still a real world that needs to be lived and experienced,” said Zidron. “I give a lot of credit to the students who acted in it, especially knowing that it was going to be such difficult subject matter to present to their peers, parents, and teachers.” In addition to the message the play conveyed to the audience, and the amazing acting, “The Compass” was something entirely unique. Ortiz said, “ I thought it [The Compass] was a very well put together show that took crowd participation to another level.”
Overall, The Compass was an incredible, insightful, and inclusive play that taught the audience a very important lesson to separate personal decisions with social media and technology, because you are ultimately responsible for the choices you make, and the actions you take. Ask yourself, if you had been a juror assigned to this case, what would you have voted? Was Marjan responsible for calling in a bomb threat to her school or was the app? Was Marjan guilty or innocent?