Put The Community In Community College
Since coming to Palomar in 1995, I’ve noticed the paradox that our sprawling community college often lacked a sense of community. It is my passionate belief that The Performing Arts provide a unique forum for building community by bringing people together for a shared experience that opens hearts, minds and eyes. Over the years I have initiated several collaborations to explore those possibilities. The momentum has been building as the community has appreciated these projects and the technology to connect large numbers of people in dialogue has developed. The Performing Hearts Project brings all these efforts together into a multilayered collaboration on the internet, in classrooms across our campus, the community at large and in the intimate setting of our performance venues.
The Performing Hearts Project was sparked when the Palomar College Committee to Combat Hate (PC3H) invited the Theatre Program to present a play that would be relevant to the LGBTQ&A (LesbianGayBi-SexualTransgenderQueer&Allied) community and would contribute to making Palomar an open, welcoming campus. A project was born! An invitation to dialogue and action.
The culmination of our 2011-12 project year will be a theatre production on an LGBTQ&A theme that will be chosen by a vote from our community.
The beauty of the project is that it creates opportunities for participation in many levels and scales. Anyone can create a project that relates to our theme. It might be a classroom project that involves only a handful of students. It might involve one person standing on a street corner with a sign. It might be ambitious enough to engage a wide range of students, faculty, staff. community members, classes, committees etc. Make your project. Post pictures, videos or other documentation here on the blog. Get you participants to post comments and dialogue here on the blog.
Let’s put the community in community college.
-Michael Mufson, Professor of Theatre-
Palomar Coffee Talks invites teachers and students to participate in this integrative learning project. Pablo Picasso famously described art as, “A lie that reveals the truth.” We offer performances and public gatherings that provide an occasion to analyze aspects of our society and the human condition from the multiple perspectives provided by differing academic disciplines. For the Fall of 2015, we are focusing on two questions raised by Bertolt Brecht’s provocative play THE GOOD PERSON OF SETZUAN: What does it mean to be a ‘good’ person? Is it possible to be good and stay good in our society? Ways of participating include but are not limited to: • Add your class to the list of participating by clicking here.. • Join us for our Coffee Talk on October 8th following the 4PM performance of The Good Person of Setzuan. • Offer extra credit for attending the Coffee Talk and or a performance. • Commit to at least one class discussion on the two questions and how they relate to your discipline. • Create some expression of the discussion that can be shared with other participants on our website, facebook, twitter feed #goodperson, or Right Here On Campus (see next bullet). • Contribute your expressions to a sculptural display at the entrance to the theatre in the Performing Arts Courtyard. • Some possibilities: o What is a good person? – in eight words or 144 characters. Make lots of these. o Characterize the discussion in 8 words or 144 characters. Make several of these. o Share a simple statement or conclusion that came from the discussion. Whole class or small groups. o Generate a list of related questions specific to your discipline. o Describe, express or articulate some of the pressures to act ‘badly’ or questionably that you have experienced. Individual or small groups. o Help us create a site-specific public art piece in the Performing Arts courtyard – that will evolve throughout the semester. o Share a response on our Tumblr page. Words & Images accepted. Connect Your Classes...
Read the review of our production of The Good Person of Setzuan in the Telescope Newspaper.
In response to our Coffee Talk theme, The Telescope Newspaper conducted interviews on campus asking a variety of people, “What does it mean to be a good person?”
The Telescope Newspaper wrote an excellent article about the Coffee Talk for The Good Person of Setzuan.
We want your help choosing the final play of our season. Is there a play that you want to see at Palomar Theatre? Is there a theme or a subject that you think we should address? The only criteria are that it must have at least 8 characters and it cannot be a musical. Use the comment box below to submit your suggestion.
The whole world seems to be experiencing a critical juncture. Everywhere we look conflict and crisis foment uncertainty. How can our political, economic and social structures respond to the rising tide of environmental degradation, climate change, ideological extremism, unemployment, poverty, disease, racial injustice and war? How do individuals cope with the instability and uncertainty of their fragile situations. Our performance projects and associated public forums will explore these questions and look for innovative thinking and solutions. One thing is certain, we cannot hope to face these situations alone. Let’s seize the opportunity form community around our common struggles....
In our current political and economic climate, what are the obstacles and challenges to creating a well-informed citizenry capable of grappling with the difficult choices that face our nation?
Click on the “Read More” button below to go to the entry page for Connecting Classroom. Use the comments box to enter the names of the classes you teach that are participating in this project . Optionally, you can include the meeting times. Participation is as simple as incorporating discussion of a relevant topic into your classroom.
Click the “Enjoy Participating” tab on our Welcome Page for some specific suggestions of ways to participate.
Look for classes that meet at the same time and consider sharing your discussions and insights together.
Critical Thinking Under Attack
Paragon Springs Interview of Steven Deitz and William Brown courtesy of www.timelinetheatre.com TimeLine’s Artistic Director PJ Powers [PP] chatted recently with playwright Steven Dietz [SD] and director William Brown [WB] about TimeLine’s production of PARAGON SPRINGS. [PP] Steven, what inspired you to do an adaptation of Ibsen’s AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE? [SD] I was approached by the Milwaukee Rep. about the adaptation. [Milwaukee Rep Artistic Director] Joe Hanreddy felt it was a timely play and could be given a new, American slant. I agreed and jumped in. PP] Bill, what first interested you about this play, and why is it a relevant story to be telling now? [WB] AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE is about tough moral decisions a community has to make – the way a crowd is influenced, the way democracy is shanghaied, the way the media can manipulate a story for popular reasons, the fact that hard choices that a community has to make necessitates sacrifice and you can’t pretend otherwise…and how comfortable it is to go along…how satisfying that is. These are all issues that have currency today. Steven’s play is rooted in Ibsen’s story and with his style of storytelling, yet this adaptation has a distinct American tone. [PP] Tell me about the choice of setting the play in the Midwest in the 1920s. [SD]It’s just such a rich and vibrant time – in terms of politics, business, music, exploration. A time when the modern America was being born, and thus a time of great and startling conflict. Plus, even though I spent a great deal of my early career in the Midwest, I had not written about that part of the world as much as I’d like. PARAGON SPRINGS was a chance to do that. [PP] Bill? [WB] First of all, I had yet to find a truly satisfying adaptation of AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. It seems to me that one of the things that comes up with Ibsen all the time is that it’s really easy for an audience to sit back and say, “Oh that’s the way things were in the 19th century in Scandinavia. It’s easy to distance yourself and not see yourself in the play. I always think, “What’s the point? That doesn’t really affect us.” This play is a disturbing play and a dangerous play. It articulates ideas that are messy and not easy to come to terms with. What I love about this version is that the town is very familiar to us. It’s Wisconsin – our own backyard. Instead of it happening in some foreign venue, it’s something we know – our friends and neighbors. It makes me laugh that I’m doing this right after directing OUR TOWN [at Writers’ Theatre]. It introduces us to some really terrific people, in a really chummy community, but it goes to the underbelly of it. The 1920s were something of a boom time. It’s certainly the beginning of modern America right after WWI. It’s got one foot in OUR TOWN and one foot in a more modern small town. [PP] The play deals with a changing era of media with the invention of radio. How does the power of the media affect the story? [SD] There is no longer...