Love The Lights

8 years ago, Dominique Lasseur wanted to be a journalist before walking into her first acting class during her 9th-grade year at G-Star School of the Arts. That class changed everything leading Lasseur down a new career path.

“I became so intrigued by acting,” said Lasseur. “It became a competitive mentality for me, I wanted to perfect it”

Looking back at the beginning, Lasseur realized that it was her strong passion for acting that led her to the New World School of the Arts. At New World, she has been through 4 years of rigorous training, taking 6 various acting classes per day and performed in 8 plays.

Although very grateful for this experience and excited to learn more, Lasseur remembers when life at New World wasn’t as easy. Starting with a class of 32 students by the end of freshman year, 10 students were dropped from the program.

Transitioning to life at New World was difficult. During the semester Lasseur tore her ACL and was prescribed various medicines to help with the pain. For a while, she was unable to attend class and when she was able to return she felt out of place with her crutches.

“I was so depressed and unmotivated during that time. I felt like I wasn’t getting support from faculty and staff,” said Lasseur. “I had a moment where I was questioning myself asking why I was even doing this.”

Lasseur says the program at New World is designed to be hard on freshmen to weed out the students not actually dedicated to the program. One of the school policies is if a student misses more than two classes they drop a letter grade.

Due to her injuries and prescribed two weeks bed rest, Lasseur grades suffered as well. She was put on academic probation and told that she wasn’t working hard enough to stay in the program.

She now understands the strict policies and tough love from teachers was to instill discipline.

Last semester Lasseur wrote, acted and directed in her one-woman show Black Girls Don’t Cry.

On December 12 and 13, the play was performed during The One Festival hosted at the Louise O. Gerrits Theatre.

Inspired by shows like Euphoria, Everybody Hates Chris, The Clumps and more, Black Girls Don’t Cry discusses how black families deal with the issue of mental health.

The main character of the play Jayla, is trying to express her feelings of anxiety and depression to her family. Although there is a high level of seriousness about the topic of her play, Lasseur wanted to incorporate humor.

On stage Lasseur, who was originally going to speak to stuffed animals, plays 5 different characters throughout the performance.

“ [Originally] I didn’t want to be like people in the past by playing multiple characters on stage,” said Lasseur. “But it became my story and it was so unique to me.”

According to Lasseur most of the plays a part of The One Festival were stories that were a reflection of the actor/actress. Although not a direct correlation with her life, the characters in the play did have some traits that mirrored the extreme of Lasseur’s own family.

“Sometimes acting is just about being honest and telling the truth,” said Lasseur. “ As an actor, finding the truth within yourself is how you become anyone.”

Lasseur wrote her play to inspire and connect with other black girls who may be experiencing mental health issues. Her main goal was to impact a large group of people and enlighten them on the everyday struggles black girls face.

She is hoping for an opportunity to perform her play again and in an effort to be ready when the chance for a larger impact comes, Lasseur is still working on and editing her play.

Contact Dominique Lasseur IG: @Domjasmine

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