With less than a week until the start of Performing the World 2014 on Friday, October 10, we share our final newsletter giving you a taste of the many, many happenings.
Friday Evening Plenary
"Becoming Performances," is the title of the opening plenary Friday night, consisting of two thematic discussions and song. The first discussion — aptly titled "Performing the World" — brings six performance activists on stage to discuss performance and becoming in different countries, cultures and political, economic and institutional contexts. Moderated by Gabrielle L. Kurlander, president and CEO of the All Stars Project, Inc. (ASP), the panel includesPatch Adams, founder of the Gesundeit Institute in Hillsboro, West Virginia and its international Clown Missions; Lenora Fulani, co-founder of the ASP, Dean of UX, and founder and director of Operation Conversation: Cops and Kids;Lois Holzman, co-founder and director of the East Side Institute for Group and Short Term Psychotherapy; Joan Lipkin, artistic director of That Uppity Theatre Company of St. Louis, Missouri; Carlos Lopez, founder of the Smiling League in Bogota, Colombia; and Rita Omovbude, founder and lead visionary of the Street Project Foundation in Lagos, Nigeria.
The vast gap in economic and cultural wealth is a critical feature of the world's becoming. This is the theme of a second plenary discussion, "Poverty, Performance and Development" led by Lenora Fulani. A panel of young people and adults will share what it's like to be poor in the United States and how the power of performance can be used to develop beyond the limitations of the current economic, political and cultural realities.
Global Issues of Becoming
Friday's plenary session is not the only place that big questions of the world's "becoming" will be engaged at PTW'14.
Jessica Litwak, artistic director of the H.E.A.T. (Healing, Education, Activism, Theatre) Collective, founder and director of New Generation Theatre Ensemble, and a member of the steering committee of Theatre Without Borders, will lead a workshop, "Performance and Peacebuilding." Participants will learn about work in the field of engaged theatre in war and conflict zones throughout the world, acquire tools and skills for creative and ethical conflict transformation discover resources, and join a global network of thoughtful practitioners.
From Brazil, Dan Baron Cohen, Manoela Souza, andCamylla Alves will report on the work/play of "Rivers of Meeting" in the Amazonian city of Marabá. This unique project has enabled impoverished young people to redefine themselves as performers of personal and collective transformation through music, dance and theatre, in the streets between the Rivers Tocantins and Itacaiúnas. The session, which will include a dance performance, demonstrates how once silent inarticulate youth have become co-coordinators of a Community University of the Rivers, inspiring ethical, eco-pedagogical collaborations with local universities and schools, and performing sustainable communities.
Also addressing the challenge of sustainability and environmental protection,Ursula Carrascal Vizarreta,Celeste Lopez and Guillermo Terisotto from Lima, Peru will present "What the Sea Returns: Fighting to Survive," a contemporary musical performance developed by the Ecodanza Group, the Educational Art Environmental Program of VIDA (Instituto para la Proteccion del Medio Ambiente). The dance/drama tells the story of how marine debris reaches the coast of Peru with marine wildlife close to death. Performers play animals and interact with the audience to help the characters to survive.
Performance Activism on the Ground
On Saturday afternoon, October 11, participants will choose between four different on-the-ground examples of performance activism throughout the New York City metropolitan area.
- Participants can travel to Harlem to participate in an All Stars Talent Show Network audition where, led by Pamela A. Lewis, ASP Vice President of Youth Programs, hundreds of young performers (ages 5 – 25) from poor communities throughout New York City will audition to be in the next talent show. (It's an "audition" in name only, since everyone gets accepted!) In fact, in addition to cheering on the young people, PTW participants are invited to audition themselves.
- Others can choose to take a bus ride across the Hudson River to the impoverished city of Newark, New Jersey where the All Stars last year opened Scott Flamm Center for Afterschool Development, a cutting-edge center for play, performance and pretending. There they can participate in "Breakthrough Performances: Poetry Workshops for Newark," hosted by Kathy Fiess, Jim Horton andGloria Strickland. The workshops are being organized in conjunction with Newark Mayor Ras Baraka's October citywide initiative, "Poetry Month Read, Write, Recite." Mayor Baraka is the son of late poet and playwright Amiri Baraka.
Those who chose to stay at the All Stars headquarters (and primary PTW venue) on 42nd Street have a few choices.
- You can attend "The Verbing of Life: Becoming," a participatory workshop led by Patch Adams designed to spark the joy of becoming. (Patch will also be doing the workshop Saturday evening, which you can attend instead. He wants all participants to remember to wear shoes th
ey can move in.)
- Or you can sit in on a rehearsal of Still on the Corner, a political musical with book and lyrics by the late Fred Newman, co-founder of the ASP and the East Side Institute, and music by Annie Roboff. Still on the Corner, which is being directed by David Nackman, focuses on the relationship between a group of people who live on the streets of New York City's Upper West Side and their middle class neighbors. The play looks at the impact the growing gap between wealth and opportunity in America has on us all.
See You Soon
Taken together, all of our newsletters have provided just a glimpse of the wide variety and remarkable depth of experiences, experiments and achievements being shared at Performing the World 2014. Hope to see you next week in New York City!
****Read "Performing the World: The Performance Turn in Social Activism" by Dan Friedman and Lois Holzman, a chapter in Performance Studies in Motion: International Perspectives and Practices in the Twenty-First Century, edited by Atay Citron, Sharon Aronson-Lehavi and David Zerbib. The book will be available at the PTW'14 bookstore.****
Performing the World 2014: How Shall We Become? is taking place on October 10-12, 2014 in New York City. The schedule is up on the websitewww.performingtheworld.org.
The registration fee is $295. To register click here