Saturday afternoon, after months of interviews with Northwestern students, a team of writer-interviewers and actors presented a theatre piece to delegates and staff that asked questions essential to GES. Where do we come from? How do we make change? What is a community? Can art institute social change? How do we do good well? Do we have a responsibility to do good?
Led by GES staff member Naomi Rosen, the team combined interviews with Northwestern students – GES staffers, other social change-makers, and many who work and study outside the realm of social chance – with lectures, GES staff activities, and their own research. The four actors presented a realm of experiences beyond their own, framed by the questions above. It was designed to challenge delegates and staff alike, to grapple with these issues while also trying to build meaningful individual lives.
One scene dealt with the story of student volunteers in New Orleans, after Hurricane Katrina. For the first time in the narrator’s life, he was working alongside the people of the community he was trying to help – the same labor, the same goal. While some volunteers stayed in touch with the community, however, most did not. Were those relationships, which the speaker found so solid, really lasting? Is that important for change?
The play resulted in questions – no explicit answers. That, after all, was the point: to continue – and complicate – the conversations started this weekend.
Look at these photos, which don’t do this awesome performance justice!