Theatre in advocacy, advocacy in theatre
By Communications Task Force Blogger Tyler S. Bugg
A self-proclaimed “theatre person,” I make as much time as possible for reading plays and seeing shows, both for leisure and for a new learning experience. The best plays teach something.
Just yesterday, I finished reading Winter Miller’s In Dafur, a play based on interviews Miller conducted at the Sudan border with genocide survivors. The play intertwines the lives of three survivors living in an internally displaced persons camp. An aid worker’s mission in saving lives, a journalist’s pursuit to write a “front-page” story, and a Darfuri woman’s quest for safety are the plotlines that make the play both urgent and significant.
The next step for me in my journey with In Darfur is to see a staged production of it. Its message will become all the more potent when I can see the characters I read in the script being embodied by real people, real voices, and real emotions on stage.
The play is both heartbreaking and hopeful, much like the outlooks of Sudanese survivors and those still in danger. For me, and for many others that connect with the realities of life that inform In Darfur, the play isn’t simply another play or another book. It’s a voice of change and, perhaps more importantly, a voice for change.
In both script form and onstage, In Darfur and its message is one that sheds light on the conflicts and memories of them that continue to stifle healing for Dafuri and Sudanese people. The conflict is not over. And neither is our work and support for them. We continue to be advocates for a better Darfur and, through the play, the playwright, actors, and theaters across the country are as well. Theatre, by addressing the most pressing issues of our time, serves a role of creative advocacy, using its artistic forms to make a difference.
In Darfur compels me to be a creative advocate. By being an advocate for what I believe in, I can be an advocate for my power in affecting it. I can perform in or direct a drama. Perhaps you can compose a song, create an art installation, or write for your school or local newspaper.
Be creative. Be an advocate. For yourself, for Darfur, and for the world we all share.