Artistic Intern Jerron Herman reflects on the first session of COLLECTIVE CONTEXTS:
It’s a simple idea—read plays—but when a group gets together to read plays that’s when the idea grows more complex. With our historical baggage, discovered freedoms, and future hopes all conditioning our response to culture, there seems never a convenient time to think about storytelling’s influence on those elements. Bred from our mission statement, Collective Contexts hopes to facilitate questions about the human experience through devised talks and discussions surrounding a modern text. Led by Colloquy Collective’s artistic director, Courtney Harge, Collective Contexts had a great first meeting on Sept 10.
It was a day of elections as ten new Collective Contexts members discussed their desire for the program and what interested them. Following the conversation, the group voted on the first theme to embark on. The winner by three votes was “Children and Childhood” which will mine such works as Gruesome Playground Injuries and In the Blood. The theme intends for participants to engage with the past or future of a generation; what are the elements of nostalgia and whether grownup means something different every time.
The meeting had a great reception at the Alliance of Resident Theatres Ft. Greene, Brooklyn studios space and will be in session there throughout the program. The inaugural group included theater professionals, educators, and chairmen—The NBT was in the house as a supporter, giving away five seats in the program. I’m glad to report the group was as heterogeneous as one could hope a first session to be what with age, race, status being represented in a spectrum. I’m personally excited to read and discuss. Theater is more than what’s on stage presently, but should really pervade one’s experience. This often looks like habituation, right? I go to the theatre every month. However, I’d like to think that theatre penetrates a life is through its presence. An occasion is often the key to make theatre a part of your life and that’s why this program will succeed. We’re taking time out of our schedules, making a choice to go “there” with these works. We’re not looking for right answers, just bold thoughts. With the start of this new program, it’s going to be a fun fall.