February 2014, Volume 18, Number 1

Cultural Spotlight

Beyond the Stage

Theater at its best often converges the creative forefront with current social issues. This fact will be even more apparent at North Campus’ Lehman Theatre on March 11-14, when the Human Rights Committee at MDC and the North Campus Theatre Department present the play Dead Man Walking.

Based on the nonfiction book by New York Times best-selling author Sister Helen Prejean, this stage adaptation was written by actor, screenwriter and director Tim Robbins and is being directed by MDC faculty member Andy Quiroga. As part of an ongoing yearlong initiative with the International Solidarity for Human Rights organization promoting co-curricular programming related to social justice and human rights, this effort aims to increase awareness of the importance of equality and inclusion of all persons.

“There’s no better way to embed human rights advocacy awareness and education than through the power of storytelling and theater,” said Professor Jaime Anzalotta, co-chair of the North Campus Human Rights Committee. “We are engaging critical thinking through the arts.”

Co-Curricular Component

One of the many ways they are achieving this is by having faculty across the campus integrate the book and play throughout their coursework. North Campus also recently hosted a lecture and panel discussion with Prejean attended by more than 1,000 students, as well as a workshop focused on the power of narrative nonfiction writing with Prejean and other literary experts.

Prejean also took part in a Q-and-A session with the cast and director of the upcoming stage production of Dead Man Walking. The encounter was filmed and will form part of a video journal documenting her visit to the campus for this ongoing initiative.

Great Theater Abounds

Theater is also enjoying a remarkable season at other MDC campuses. After the recent success of the hilarious Neil Simon classic comedy The Odd Couple, Kendall Campus Studio Theatre next will present a masterful reimagining of Shakespeare’s most iconic female characters in a work that will include scenes and sonnets from several of his plays, all under the care of Deborah Mello’s direction. 

Wolfson Campus, too, is planning another musical extravaganza for the spring, even though topping their most recent spectacular run of Little Women, presented under the direction of Amy Ibberson, will be no easy task.

— HP

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