I was wrong

  • December 12, 2016 11:56 am

As Michelangelo said during a time of explosive human evolution: “I am still learning.” That is what I am doing.

I’ve been wrong about my definition of my work. I have to be wrong because the times we live in are demanding that I am not only wrong but dangerously so.

Creative Campus Student Tash Nouri

I have always thought that The Global Theatre Project does not do political theatre. I was against that idea. I stood on the premise that we do social-awareness theatre – theatre that woke people up to our world reality and encouraged personal responsibility and action. I believed that politics were for the politicians. About that last sentence, I was wrong.

In this moment of human history we are our politics. We have created forms of government tied just closely enough to the will of the people that our responsibility is to ensure those ties are never severed but made stronger. However, if they are not made stronger by a conscious empathetic citizenry, if they are ties of fear and ignorance, then what our politicians and governments will become is a direct result of our lack of human development both individually and collectively.

The imperative is two-fold: 1) that we, as artists, now guide our communities toward a sense of inter-connectivity, creative and intellectual celebration and communal harmony. This is the necessary political action, protest if you will, that The Global Theatre Project is focused on. 2) that, as a US Not-for-profit cultural organization we recognize that cultural export is politics. And that it affects our lives back in our small towns and large cities because it effects our international relationships.

In 2009 I sat in the office of the Consul General of Tuscany with a project to connect US students and artists with the local community as a counter to the alcohol-binged evenings many of our young people participated in. She wasn’t interested in supporting this work. There was a time, prior to Ronald Reagan, when the United States had cultural centers around the world sharing our art and artists, our intellectual inquiries and discoveries with the hopes of demonstrating the value of a functioning democracy on the international community. Since Reagan those centers have been closed. And yet we still export our culture – through studio film, network television, corporate dominance and warfare. This perspective of our culture is not complete. And it is a danger to us.

We can not necessarily stop the political power machines around us from doing what they are doing…. because they are controlled by people who have lost their sense of connectivity to the planet and to other human beings. But we can, as political protest and necessity, strengthen our tools and our intention and become the social-political artist-activists that are desperately needed right now. We need to . . . , as my mentor and partner in The GTP Institute, Mack McCarter, says: “we need to grow healthy human beings.”

So here I want to say clearly that I was wrong. The Global Theatre Project does do political theatre. In fact, we are building an army to act on this political stage…. Creative Corps. Our first line of attack is the demonization of refugees and those in forced immigration with the project An Explorer’s Desire. Fear and hatred will never solve this issue. Our efforts to work in our communities and to export this project world-wide will hopefully demonstrate that.

Please join us #WeRCreativeCorps #ExplorersDesire

Beginning The Conversation

  • December 30, 2015 11:01 am

Rare Steaks“An Explorer’s Desire” which we did in 2013 in Los Angeles and Florence, Italy was originally conceived to demonstrate that immigration is not a ‘local problem’ but a common issue filled with one deeply specific human story after another. There is no ‘wave’ of immigrants, but there are drops of individuals who are either forced or choose to migrate from their home and each carries with them every human emotion, every care, every fear regardless of their skin color, their language, sexuality or religion. When we see them as a wave we forget this. But when we listen and feel their individual journey’s we can see our own. This is what we wanted to demonstrate in 2013. This and the fact that the exploration of the world is a glorious thing — that meeting each other on the stage of this planet is a rare gift.

Now, in 2015, we have come to a point, yet again, in our history where immigration and the immigrant is demonized. And because of this I could not stand by silently. It seemed to me — a second generation American — that some of us were forgetting our history, and that others were allowing the manipulation of words to shortcut logical exploration and discourse.

So, clearly the right thing to do was to re-examine “An Explorer’s Desire” in order to respond to fear and hatred which are rising both in the United States and Europe as many of our neighbors from various and troubled lands seek shelter and kindness – seek a new home where they are safe.

I have always said, and I will again say it here, that The Global Theatre Project does not do political theatre – we do social theatre. We look at social issues and seek processes and approaches which help our artists, students and community members to celebrate the inter-connectivity of humanity.  To find the way to guide others toward remembering we are one human family. That the world as well as our very neighborhood streets function better when we engage on this level. However, I am pointedly choosing to explore this issue during an election year because many of our politicians are using immigration as a tool and this is threatening a social fabric I feel we, as a free people, can not forget. The tapestry of our history.

Throughout the coming months I will share the process with you: What we learn, what challenges we face, what individuals and groups we engage and what art and conversation is created.

Please stay in touch. At some point we will want to include you. Your story is important, your history, your journey — all of it is intertwined through the centuries to this very moment.

Happy New Year,

Bari