MCVTS Arts is partnering with McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton to present The Every 28 Hours Plays on October 26, 2016 at 7:00 p.m on our East Brunswick campus. Prior to this event, we are pleased to announce 9 of our students will perform these plays at the prestigious McCarter theatre on October 24th. Our students will perform along professional actors and artists. “Every 28 Hours” is a theater project and national partnership inspired by the hotly-debated statistic that a black person is killed by the police, security guards, or neighborhood watch vigilantes every 28 hours in the United States. Conceived shortly after the August 2014 killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, The Every 28 Hours Plays tap into the role that the arts have played in helping people to process through discourse what happened in Ferguson – From the death of Mr. Brown and the unrest that followed, the issues of racial inequality that it raised, and the rift between law enforcement and the community. We are presenting these plays with the goal of opening the lines of communication within the community and teaching our students to engage in productive discourse for positive change.
The presentation of the plays will be followed by a community discussion designed to highlight and create awareness surrounding the issues of race and equality. This discussion will feature a panel of featured guests from academia, law enforcement and the community gathered to discuss the topics at hand. The goal for the evening is to create a space of artistic response, community discussion, and forward action to address the ongoing national discussion on systemic racism and violence.
Originally produced by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival under the leadership of Claudia Alick and The One-Minute Play Festival with Dominic D’Andrea, in association with St. Louis-based University of Missouri theatre professor Jacqueline Thompson, this project was conceived as a multi-year process with the goal of capturing the history in the making of our current Civil Rights Movement.
Last October, theater makers from around the US, including a member of McCarter
Theatre’s staff, traveled to Ferguson and St. Louis to listen, learn, and create a theatrical response alongside local artists. They met with historians, high school students, police officers, community organizers, and other residents of the city before crafting one-minute plays around the theme of police violence and inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement. The collection of 72 plays was presented as staged readings in St. Louis and Ferguson in October of 2015.
“The goal…is to experience the multiplicity of voices and perspectives on this issue within our community and from the country,” said OSF Producer Claudia Alick. “While all theater is a political act, we have always been very clear that this piece of theater was created without a singular political viewpoint. Our curatorial process was open, and we asked our playwrights to reflect on the Civil Rights Movement happening today and the events that inspire the Black Lives Matter movement. The process has included dialogue with both law enforcement and activists, and that dialogue continues. Theater, culture workers and law enforcement are designed to serve the community in their own unique ways. Theater offers a space to explore our differences, find our commonalities and practice empathy.”
The upcoming phase of the project is a coordinated series of national readings and engagements all over the country sponsored and presented by partnering theatres. This year, theaters and universities across the US will join forces and offer individual presentations of The Every 28 Hour Plays during the month of October. The mission is to open each city’s public spaces to engage in this critical conversation. By the end of October, over 100 theatres and universities across 25 states will have participated in the creation, performance, or other forms of engagement with these plays. In addition to performing some of the original plays, our students will be creating, performing, and presenting original pieces as well.