It has been renewing to collaborate with this team on this project. The process hasbeen unlike any I have ever facilitated. Every single step has been a discovery. Ed Falco and I have known each other for about 25 years and I’ve admired his writing (and I’m so grateful that he brought his play The Cretans to my attention for this collaboration) — and I’ve worked on other projects with several other among the faculty, staff, student and alumni company — but this particular circumstance, and this constellation of people, has been quite unusual — and that has helped us each grow in ways that we couldn’t have predicted.
I find theatre the most fecund endeavor for growth for so many reasons. In our process of the creation of this piece we opened up difficult conversations about freedom, order, betrayal, power, justice, and love. These conversations changed us as individuals and as a community. In the theatre we learn to work together collaboratively and value varied gifts. That is especially true when none of the traditional approaches to making theatre is possible (like now!). The members of our team stepped forward to take up unpredictable research and learning new skills. Faculty, students, and alumni of the program contributed as equals. Our guest artist, alumna Warona Setshwaelo, brought a terrific artistic and mentoring dimension to the process — and despite her many professional successes, she joined us as a collaborative equal. I am so grateful for what each of these people brought to the process.
In this rapidly changing world I believe that sharing stories provides something that is deeply needed. Exploring performing arts teaches skills in an environment of incredible complexity, change, and diversity. In the pandemic, we had to decide how to make dramatic work without the spaces that we usually work in . . . and without the relationship to an audience that we have come to depend on. We decided to create an audio drama and our process has forged a path of discovery with every step we took.
This kind of work develops our resilience, our intellectual, and our practical skills. Our experiments on this project have led us to explore ancient stories, modern technologies, human psychology and motivation, and the effect of the voice and sound on storytelling. It has asked us to examine power and privilege. We have learned to be responsible to each other in the virtual rehearsal hall. We have considered the ways that what we think, how we behave, and what we reveal has an effect on our community. In Ed Falco’s dramatic story we interpret both ancient and modern worlds with the intention of introducing audiences to metaphors that bring human beings to deeper understanding. Perhaps most importantly, we intend to model collaboration -- speaking and listening -- to imagine a character’s point of view in order to understand the points of view of others. We support and are supported. We trust. Collaboration is of primary importance in unfamiliar territory. The decision to produce this audio drama has been an act of faith in each other and in our community — a radical commitment to the synthesis of ideas, imagine, and collaboration.
Thank you for working your imagination with us as you listen to this story.