Increasingly US American families are split between red and blue, torn over how to deal with issues ranging from immigration to women’s bodies to world trade. Young and old report that they no longer talk politics or religion with even their closest friends; there seems to be no space for the crucially important task of discussing and thinking deeply in community about important yet delicate matters facing the nation.
News feeds now have razor-thin aim, reinforcing what we already believe, hardening and emotionalizing beliefs into convictions so that we feel anger towards our neighbors. Amidst this reality are frequent revelations about foreign powers feeding the frenzy of hatred; their active fomenting of division within US American society is the newest weapon of mass destruction.
How do we reclaim our public spaces for civil discourse? Can we think things through together, deeply and constructively, without degenerating into insults? One new hope has presented itself in the form of an extremely well-reviewed interactive play called “American Dreams.” According to the website, “American Dreams” is:
“An immersive, interactive theatrical event that imagines a world where the only way to become a U.S. citizen is by competing in a nationally-televised game show run by the U.S. government.
The live “studio” audience votes after each of the five rounds, determining which contestant will win the ultimate prize — citizenship to the “greatest country on earth.”
Weaving multiple levels of audience engagement with up-to-the-moment questions about immigration and citizenship, this playful participatory performance invites us to explore who and what we choose to believe — and how those choices shape who we are as people, communities, and nations.
Click on any photo to enlarge it or view a slideshow:
“American Dreams” creates a relaxed atmosphere with plenty of critical thinking as well as a bit of learning about the laws of the USA and the rights of its citizens and residents. CPT’s Executive Artistic Director, Raymond Bobgan, says the play captures the fact that:
“To live in the Unites States now is to always live in that tension between desire for freedom and equality for all people and at the same time the desire to protect what we have achieved.”
The performance will be making a “Red State Swing State Tour” in summer 2020, and the next important step is to bring “American Dreams” to your community to help recapture civil public discourse and critical thinking; enough of the “dumbing down” of the USA by outside powers and our own laziness or righteousness! Click here to learn about bringing the show to your city!
Thank you so much for this Dianne. We are working with two organizations in Seattle that are organizing multi-cultural, multi-religious, multi-generational discussions based on theatre or movie productions. Having such a focus helps ground the conversations and allows people to share without risking loss of friendships/family. I will pass this information to both organizations. And thank you, as always for the amazing work that you continue doing. Donna
It would be terrific for Seattle to bring Leila and her group there. Fingers crossed!