|Opening up the process of writing
Creating theater from places throughout the world is inherently an open
and interactive event. As a playwright entering circumstances that are
unfamiliar, the excitement of learning drives the writing forward. Writing
becomes a means of discovery. In exchange for information, the playwright,
in turn, offers the benefit of artistic perspective.
World Communities is about sharing this creative process with students
and faculty. Because the plays are political and historic, there are many
points of entre for students of all disciplines ranging from the research
that is required to write the play, to the theatrical skills that are
required to perform it
|More than a play
World Communities is also about using the opportunity of the play to
create related events and activities. These include seminars inspired by
the subject matter of the play; oral history projects that are part of the
research for the play; and study abroad opportunities that use the play
and the play's creation to provide intimate access to a culture.
|Basic tenants of human rights theater
The goal is to create compelling and accessible plays which in
and of themselves constitute good theater. But in the choice of
material, the process of play creation, and the focus of the writer,
these plays allow for the following to occur -on some level:
1) Illuminate: Recognize situations that would otherwise be
unfamiliar to the audience, the telling of which on stage somehow
helps the status of those depicted. Herein lies the primary human
rights consideration -the choice of the subject matter.
2) Humanize: Strive to reveal the underlying human component to
broad social, historic or political issues.
3) Empathize: Create an empathy through the realization of the
universal themes that transcend the particulars of place and
4) Involve: Allow for broader involvement in the writing process
itself both from individuals whose story is being told and from
those with academic or other perspectives on the story. This can
include students as well.
5) Heal: Through involvement of others, through facing difficult
issues on the stage, and through the cathartic effect of the
presentation of the material, allow for healing to occur on some
These considerations are usually not explicitly stated in the
presentation of the play, but they are fundamental to their writing
|Historic figures/American presidents
World Communities can also focus its process on historic figures like
President Jimmy Carter and offer intimate insight into their lives.
We are particularly interested in developing a series of productions
focusing on the lives of American presidents.
World Communities is what happens when I base my writing process at a
university and reach across disciplines to provide educational
opportunities for students and teachers. Through the work that is created,
a cultural legacy is left for the school and for its community which may
continue for years after the residency.
Click HERE to read the brochure
| Read more here about:
beginnings and the development of its broader mission
This is a model that allows for the infusion of compelling new works
into the mainstream of American theater. Professional theaters have
been limited in their ability to develop new plays. The educational
mission of universities allows broader justification for these same
efforts, especially when the process of play creation can reach into
so many areas of academic endeavor.
|Pre-existent works and classes
Each residency carries with it a body of developed work and classes
surrounding those works, as well as associates from different parts
of the world who can speak directly to the story being told.
Associates include Cambodian poet Chath Pier Sath whose story of the
Khmer Rouge and modern-day Cambodia are woven into his performance
in "Searching for Innocence"; as well as noted Bulgarian actor and
director Madelyn Tcholakova, whose brilliant articulations of the
fall of Communism helped inspire the drama for which she is
available to play the title role: "Stalinka."
from lives and
Because the work is rooted in historic or political issues, the study of
theater associated with World Communities shows the arts as a relevant
manifestation of the human condition. Students involved in a World
Communities production have the unique opportunity to learn about theater
through the creation of a new play, and they also have the opportunity to
learn about culture and history from the very people who have lived that
The central idea of World Communities is that theater can heal. The
resources of the university extend the reach of World Communities through
teachers who can provide information and insight into the potential
subject matter, to theater departments who have the expertise to stage the
final product. With this broader involvement, World Communities can
pro-actively address important situations and issues throughout the world.
As a human rights theater, World Communities uses both the process and the
product of theater to create cultural healing and to promote
understanding. It has the ability to address conflicts in the world and
offer insight. By shining a light into dark places it brings people
Locally, World Communities has the opportunity to serve the place in
which the university is based through the creation of site-specific
productions based on that area's history and relevant to its present
day circumstances. Born out of a loose association with historic
drama, World Communities productions are meant to be accessible yet
challenging; populist yet innovative. Many have continued throughout
the country as an ongoing means of communities articulating their
culture and history.
World Communities carries with it a group of well-known American
artists and scholars who are associates of World Communities and who
can bring an array of talents to the productions or to related
events. These include directors, actors, historians, and
international partners who have worked on or who have inspired World
Communities projects. We also make new associates with each new
effort and these associates remain affiliated with the organization
for future works.
|Residences at theater companies,
World Communities can also achieve the same goals when in residence at
a theater, cultural institution or non-profit. The ideal amount of
time for a World Communities residency is three years.