After a lethal car crash created a dark cloud over the Isla Vista community last year, a UCSB student is doing her part to try and shed some light.
Sarah MacKay, a senior dramatic arts and English major, is currently in the process of writing and executing a play called “Sidewalks and Better Lights,” which is based on the events before, during and after Feb. 23, 2001. The play, a compilation of monologues performed by MacKay and two other people, will be held on April 27 and 28 at times to be announced.
“I interviewed a bunch of people involved – police officers, psychologists, friends and family of the victims, people who know David Attias, school officials, and religious leaders in Isla Vista,” she said. “No ones name is going to be used in the play though.”
MacKay said the primary focus of the play and the reason she is putting it together is to honor the victims of last year’s accident.
“The piece reflects on our community involvement in this whole incident,” she said. “It brings up questions like why this accident occurred. It doesn’t provide an answer to these questions, but forces people to think about them.”
Like much of the UCSB and Isla Vista community, MacKay said she was deeply affected by the tragedy and began thinking about writing a play based on the incidents last year.
“I’m hoping to show sorrow, destruction, agony, grief and hope for the future, because the only thing we can do is hopefully prevent something like this from happening again,” she said. “A real tragedy would occur if we all forgot about what happened.”
MacKay asked each person she interviewed a series of questions, depending on how they were involved in the accident. She also said the victims’ friends and families were friendly to her when she interviewed them and were generally appreciative of what she is doing.
“One of the questions that I asked was what the friends and family of these victims wanted to see happen to Attias. The one thing that surprised me most was the lack of anger and frustration towards him from the people that lost someone. It’s like people realized that no matter what happens to Attias, it’s not going to bring back the person they love,” she said. “Most people responded by saying they hope he gets help and is put somewhere where he can’t hurt anyone ever again.”
The stories people told her, MacKay said, were both uplifting and sorrowful.
“The night after the accident, parents of UCSB students from all over California were calling the police stations to find out if it was their son or daughter. One story I was told was about a father who called in the middle of the night and was whispering in the phone so that he wouldn’t wake up his wife who was asleep and make her worry,” she said. “It was emotional things like that that struck me.”
For more information on “Sidewalks and Better Lights,” contact the Dramatic Arts Dept. at 893-5508.