“In today’s climate in our country, which is sickened with the pollution of pollution, threatened with the prominence of AIDS, riddled with burgeoning racism, rife with growing huddles of homeless, we need art, and we need art in all forms. We need all methods of art to be present, everywhere present and all the time present.”-Maya Angelou
With a few simple adjustments, this quote is as necessary as ever….
And so I offer my latest piece of A.R.T. The Root River Anthology: A Radio Play
It is a collaboration with Lanesboro Arts, Commonweal Theatre Company, and my own company A.R.T. (Audacious Raw Theater) (this year with the onslaught of COVID 19 we shifted to Audacious Re-Imagined Theater) since we could not produce live theater.
Over the past three weeks, we three organizations gathered our resources and took my latest play, entitled “The Root River Anthology,” and created a Radio Play.
Over twenty artists collaborated on this project, and we worked over Zoom, had phone calls, recorded ourselves (literally) in our closets for the quietest sound possible.
The brilliant Eric Carranza underscored the show with his magical music from his album, Root River Vibes. Josiah Laubenstein worked his own magic sound designing from his home in Lanesboro. Rachel Kuhnle was the project manager and wrangled each of us into a disciplined tribe of performers. I wrote and directed the show and felt so blessed to be doing so all throughout the process.
In fact, I cannot recall ever being as happy as I was making this piece with the ensemble performers of the Commonweal and A.R.T.
And then, on May 25, Memorial Day 2020, George Floyd was brutally murdered by a police officer from my hometown. Three other officers watched complicit in the act.
Maya Angelou’s words of ‘burgeoning racism” are simply (and actually have been thus:) PLAIN DEVASTATING RACISM.
My play is about a white community. I live in Minnesota. Whether we choose to admit it or not, our state is rife with systematic racism. We have remained silent for too long. I have so much to learn. We have so much to learn as a society. My friend, Zaki, who is originally from Jordan, made an excellent point today; we place the burden of being peaceful upon the oppressed.
This is where we have gone wrong. The burden is not upon people of color, it is upon me as a white person. Black Lives Matter.
So while my art may be flawed, and perhaps radically so, I offer it as a place to BEGIN.
In Part 3 of The Root River Anthology, I invite YOUR voice to be heard. Send us your stories, your phone booth monologues. (When you listen to the play, you will understand.)
I give my word I will help you be heard.
I offer this play to you as a place to begin, may it bring you some peace. May it bring you catharsis.
May it be a part of the burgeoning revolution of love and understanding and direct, peaceful communication.
It is only a suggested contribution, so if you don’t have the means to make a donation, simply place 0 in the field, and you will be directed to the links to the show.
If you can, tune in and walk with this, be out in nature as you hear these words. Connect with the Earth, the gifts that are available to us all.
Then, please, connect with me.
With love, Catherine
Original Artwork provided by Sara Slee Brown