From the Editor: Volume I. Nov-Dec 2011

By Donna Walker Kuhne

The LARK Play Development Center is well known for their bold and broad presence in the American theatrical landscape and their deep commitment to playwrights. This is the first in a series of blogs that will feature articles by local storytellers who are capturing the impact and footprint of Marcus Gardley’s play, “The Road Weeps, the Well Runs Dry” across America. The participating theaters and Storytellers are; They are Michael Premsrirat, The Latino Theatre Company; Joanne Alcantarra, Perserverence Theater; Shannon Gibney, Pillsbury House Theater and B. E. Melendez at University of South Florida.

The purpose of this blog is to provide a forum to share conversations, observations and experiences that explore the issues of migration, identity and education. Each city offers a unique perspective based on local culture and geography. This five city project presents a conversation about race, migration and spirituality and we are just beginning this process.

Come with us on this journey with The Road Runs Deep, the Well Runs Dry as we discover the connections that bind us to each other. Each venue is at a different juncture in this conversation. Performances will begin in the fall of 2012 and conclude in the spring of 2014. Undoubtedly, the world will continue to change and impact how we adjust our lens to discuss these issues. During this more than two year voyage, there will be Town Hall discussions, staged readings, community involvement and collaborations from multicultural arts organizations that will foster continued discussion and hopefully interest in the ideas presented by this play. Ultimately, the goal is that audiences will have a stimulating experience of the play fostering an ongoing dialogue about the issues presented.

Launching New Plays Consortium is an initiative of The Lark Play Development Center which includes four amazing theaters who have agreed to engage their local communities in order to discover a deeper meaning of how the history of indigenous groups intersects with that of African Americans. One result of these collaborations is an opportunity for long term partnerships, sharing resources benefiting all Consortium members. This program is poised to engage audiences in a conversation about our nation’s multicultural communities in the context of their unique traditions and history.

There is a Buddhist concept called ‘dependent origination’ that holds that everything is linked in an intricate web of causation and connection, and nothing – whether in the realm of human affairs or of natural phenomena can exist or occur solely on its own accord. A 1999 article in the Miami Herald quotes Tony Award winner playwright, director George C. Wolfe who further explains this concept: “we are all incomplete versions of something else that gets completed by somebody else’s story. And what is so wonderful about the Americas’ is that we need each other to fill in the blanks. Part of your story bleeds into mine, and part of mine bleeds into yours. It’s that fragmentation of identity that tells us who we are.’

Marcus Gardley has provided us with a play that does just that, he has given us an artistic product that has launched an exploration of indigenous, immigrant and African American communities interconnectedness and a means by which theaters can be a responsive 21st century arts organization no longer bound by its history but making their core values and mission to reflect their city and community.

On behalf of The Lark Play Development Center, we thank these four pioneering venues who have provided the environment in which these stories can be discovered, dissected and understood in a way unique to each community.

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