Proud of our work

Hi,

I’m depressed by the results of the election. It made me think that we went backwards and shrunk as a nation. The candidate that won, and will be our President, was not inclusive or respectful to many of our citizens throughout his campaign. It is disheartening that language that is hurtful and threatening to fellow citizens is rewarded with the highest office in the land. Racism and sexism has been at the center of the language of this campaign. That’s a fact. And it depresses me. I’m not going to talk about the nuance or details of why one person won or one person lost.

What I will focus on is the work of The Farm. I am so proud of our work.

I am proud that College Collaboration Project with University of West Florida, SUNY Brockport, Centre College and Micheline Auger are developing a play about sexual assault – about all of our responsibility on this issue. How do we stop it? How do we create a world where all women feel safe? What is our responsibility as men to talk with other men? What is our responsibility?

I am equally proud that we are collaborating with playwright Christopher Gabriel Nunez and MACCPAC (Maryland Association of Community Colleges Performing Arts Collective – made up of Carroll, Howard, and Prince George Community Colleges ) on a play that confronts the issue of class and race in this country.

I am thrilled that both of these plays will inspire conversation between playwrights, colleges, and the communities they serve for over a year and a half. That is truly the value of this project: personal empowerment by strengthening the voice of all of the artists involved and to facilitate a long conversation on difficult issues. Examining the issue from multiple points of view and ultimately becoming advocates for a healthier and safer world.

I hope a safer world. Dialogue and understanding is my theme of the day. I believe that is the first step towards compassion and change.

These issues are challenging to talk about. They are challenging because as a white male middle aged, who is culturally middle class – I don’t confront these issues personally on a daily basis. I am effected by them. They are part of my world. However, on most days I can choose to avoid them if it’s not convenient. I can choose to not be bogged down by that burden.That is my ‘privilege’. I don’t feel privileged because I’m poor, because I’m choosing a hard career, because – it’s my life and I experience the challenges of that life in a personal way. But I understand I have that privilege.

However, another privilege that I have is that I can facilitate conversation around these topics. I can facilitate it – but I can’t have it alone. There has to be at least two people to have a conversation. A playwright, collaborators, and then audience. It is a conversation. It is a dialogue we will have for a year and half. And the play will continue to have a dialogue as long as it is presented and exists.

I’m proud that our writers, collaborators, and communities initiate and encourage these conversations. They don’t steer away from the hard topics. They embrace the challenge. And make it safe to invite others into the conversation.

Our collaborators’ courageous, inviting, and willingness to learn, grow, and share themselves and their artistry is how I measure who we are as a community. Not the results of an election. And when I see the dialogue that they are inspiring – we are large and growing every day!

Thank you!

Padraic