Art for change

by Erica Cali | 29 May 2020 | Posted in: Theatre

Using Verbatim Theatre and dance to combat the refugee crisis in Jakarta and how COViD-19 helped bring our piece to a wider audience

Originally published by Erica Cali on her blog Theatreartworks.

I have spent about twenty minutes writing and rewriting that title alone. There is so much that this article could be about as the learning curve for me, my husband and our students over the past four months has been huge – in regards to the refugee crisis, the process of creation, the ethics involved in creating Verbatim Theatre and the incredible abilities of our students to rise to meet and surpass our expectations. Not to mention their ability to move quickly past the disappointment of live performance cancellations due to COViD-19. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Last May my husband Mike and I decided that we were going to combine forces to create a new work that would involve theatre and dance. We knew we wanted to create some type of Verbatim piece but we weren’t sure whose stories we would tell. At first we thought it would involve the stories of students who would be sharing their personal stories in relation to vulnerability and shame (à la Dr. Brené Brown) but that quickly proved too challenging a topic to tackle on a high school campus with child-safeguarding issues and the many cans of worms a piece like this might open. We then looked at and carefully considered a published work involving the story of a refugee in the United States. We were excited to tell a story related to the refugee crisis but it felt very far from where we were in Jakarta.

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