BY: LEIGH FONDAKOWSKI
DIRECTED BY: CAITLIN KANE
CORNELL UNIVERSITY, FLEX THEATRE
APRIL 26 - MAY 4, 2019
"PERFORMING THE PAST, REHEARSING THE FUTURE: TRANSFORMATIVE ENCOUNTERS WITH
AMERICAN THEATER COMPANY'S YOUTH ENSEMBLE," THE SCHOLAR AS HUMAN, EDS. ANNA SIMS BARTEL AND DEBRA CASTILLO, CORNELL UNIVERSITY PRESS. (FORTHCOMING 2021)
In this chapter, I describe an intergenerational collaboration between Chicago Public High School Students and a collective of seasoned civil rights activists at the Beloved Community Center (BCC) in Greensboro, NC that led to a cross-temporal retelling of the 1979 Greensboro Massacre. In it, I argue that the collaboration between the members of the ensemble and their counterparts at BCC highlights how public humanities methods are generatively used outside of academia. Both groups used Emily Mann's documentary play, Greensboro: A Requiem, to collectively re-examine the state-sanctioned, racist violence of the Greensboro Massacre and its contemporary implications. Together, they dreamt into being a vision of what a more equitable and just world might look like and worked to embody that vision in their respective organizations. “Performing the Past/Rehearsing the Future” investigates how these processes of envisioning and embodying alternative futures through theater and activism can inform our approach to public humanities projects within and beyond academia.
"AFTER ORLANDO IN ITHACA, NY," IN "THE EVERY 28 HOURS PLAYS AND AFTER ORLANDO: NETWORKED RAPID RESPONSE COLLECTIVE THEATRE ACTION, NEW FORMS AND A NEW AGE" WITH ANN ELIZABETH ARMSTRONG, JOAN LIPKIN, ET. AL. THEATRE TOPICS: SPECIAL ISSUE ON THEATRE AND PROTEST, 2018, ED. LISA BRENNER.
Projects like “The Every 28 Hours Plays” and “After Orlando” represent a significant new trend using short-form drama to respond to the breakneck speed of the news cycle and construct a space for both a deep and wide community conversation. This note 1) introduces both of these projects and their original impulses and history; 2) explores this emerging genre of theatrical protest: the networked, rapid-response, collective-theatre action; and 3) brings together commentary about six different productions at various university campuses that staged either The Every 28 Hours Plays or After Orlando.