We're Going To Make The New Stories

Monday, January 17, 2011 Leave a Comment

"We can try, we can try to re-write some of the moments, make the history different - the story different. Change the story. That’s the only hope cause it’s all rooted in there. All the hate and the power and the lack of care and the blindness – it’s all in the stories that we’re born with and we’re going to make the new stories and that is going to change everything."
-Emmie, Kristen Palmer's Sacrifice

Those words are part of Kristen Palmer's Sacrifice, her contribution to our Have Another #5 tonight, and touch not only the themes of the three plays, but also echoed my thoughts on the tragedy of Tucson. I was moved by them last night, and asked if I could share them with you here, and she kindly said yes, though of course, you'll hear them better in a room full of people born on the breath of an actor.

I hear such things differently on the day we honor the legacy of Martin Luther King, and I'm taking part of today to listen to his galvanizing words, and think about how I can echo in my own actions. Today, it was these words from his Nobel prize acceptance speech that struck me the most deeply:

"I refuse to accept despair as the final response to the ambiguities of history. I refuse to accept the idea that the "isness" of man's present nature makes him morally incapable of reaching up for the eternal "oughtness" that forever confronts him. I refuse to accept the idea that man is mere flotsom and jetsom in the river of life unable to influence the unfolding events which surround him. I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality. I refuse to accept the cynical notion that nation after nation must spiral down a militaristic stairway into the hell of thermonuclear destruction. I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality..."

Change The Story. And tonight, at around the same time we're lifting our glasses to celebrate the plays and artists of Have Another, the Public Theater will host an encore benefit performance of Being Harold Pinter to support Belarus Free Theater.

At around the same time, a few blocks down from us, The Horse Trade Theatre is hosting a panel on Diversity in Contemporary Theatre as part of The Fire This Time Festival. I wish I could be at all three events (I'm making appearances at two), but I'm thrilled tonight to end up at our Have Another, helping the community of artists I love make the new stories.

(Photo: Tyler G. Hicks-Wright. Pictured: Michael Davis, Jake Alexander, Matthew Archambault in THE LESSER SEDUCTIONS OF HISTORY, year 1963, before the "I Have A Dream" speech takes over the characters)