We returned Sunday from our first venture into the Boston Theater scene. The week-long tour - including performances, panel discussions, and workshops - was a huge success. Yasmina Reza’s God of Carnage was the centerpiece of the tour, serving as a springboard and catalyst for panel and post-show discussions by some of the most prominent theatre names in Boston. The featured discussion - “How Does Live Theatre Help to Heal Our Culture” - was hosted by our director Sr. Danielle Dwyer, CJ, and included Joyce Kulhawik (President, Boston Theatre Critics Association), Jared Bowen (Executive Arts Editor and Host, WGBH), Georgia Lyman (Award-winning Boston Actress), Julie Hennrikus (Executive Director, StageSource), and Fr. Thomas Kane (Boston College). The subject was very relevant given recent national events, and in the wake of the Boston marathon bombing.The conversation was vibrant, heartfelt, and fascinating. Throughout the rest of the week, each performance was followed by a post-show discussion led by theater educators from Boston’s leading colleges and universities. The actors, professors and audience would circle up and discuss the themes and challenges that God of Carnage presents. During the day we had the opportunity to conduct workshops with local schools- working on Tom Sawyer and also helping students prepare for auditions. We made some friends in the Boston theatre community and were warmly welcomed into many discussions and plans for the future. Thank you to all who gave support and encouragement for this time. To see galleries and links to the panel discussion click here
I am new to this world of blogs. I have read plenty, I just have barely written any. I have been asked, bugged, prompted and cajoled by our web master to please write something on a panel series we are doing in a two weeks time in Boston:
The Importance of Live Theater in Our Culture:The Art of Making Humans More Human
In thinking about this blog, I ask myself – why are we doing this panel? Why is this important and what would make it worthwhile for someone to come to downtown Boston if they had planned to stay home that night?
Here are my thoughts from the last few days;
We’re doing this because there is a hunger for conversation about the topics that stretch us and stun us as people. How to become more human is a big subject and one with all that we see in the news, and on our streets and schools, worthy of deep consideration. At our best we bring life to each other, at our worst we take it away. How can we live our best lives, and be the best creatures on this planet fulfilling our individual purpose? Finding answers to questions like these and getting there is often not a solo journey, but one accompanied by others who come to us in ways we often do not expect or anticipate. The beauty of conversation is that it is not only about speaking, it is about listening. So, conversation much like live theatre requires two parties to fulfill the experience – speaker and listener, actor and audience, complete the exchange.
Before our panel discussion we are performing Yasmina Reza’s God of Carnage. In her words, “a funny tragedy”. I was so relieved to find this description because while I find the play very funny on another level it is also very disturbing. Two couples gather to discuss a fight between their sons, and disintegrate as the time wears on. The first suffocating moments of the play, offer images of good people, trying to abide by societies rules. As the images get shattered, the real angers, hurts and vendettas are revealed and we have an inkling why the two boys fought on the playground.
Reza reveals the problem, but does not resolve it. It is left to us to take the next step whether it be in our communities, in our homes, or simply in ourselves.
So, besides a dynamic panel, free sandwiches and a great play, I would invite you, encourage you, and compel you to come to this discussion for it holds in it the seeds of hope for the future of our communities. It is also good to know you are not alone in this life, trying to honor the humanity in yourself and in others around you.