by Emily Rose Prats
I’m not sure what I’m doing in BTWC. I’m here because I need a place to learn and to share, a place where the desire to do what’s right is a central premise, and not some naive ideal. But I don’t share the conviction that art—in the site-specific, downtown-Manhattan, blackbox-theatre sense—is an effective form of protest.
On the first day of acting class in college, our instructor asked what acting meant to each of us. I declared it to be a responsibility: introducing the audience to “the other,” building empathy, connecting one human to the next. But the longer I was in the business, the more I realized that for most actors, the vocation is a commercial one—whether by choice, because one’s goal is to make money, or by necessity, because a person needs money to live—and for most audiences, the arts are a brief escape from the burden of consciousness.
And even in a city like New York, where thought-provoking theatre happens nightly, and truly indie films screen regularly, it still takes work to find these dots of light among countless Disney spectacles and the plethora of film stars.
So I’m not sold on performance as protest.
Heck, I’m not even sold on protest as protest.
by Kelly Webb
In keeping with the BTW Collective’s mission, one of our primary goals is to educate and in order to educate others we need to continue to educate ourselves. We at the BTW Collective know that the process of empathy and understanding never ends; it is a constant pursuit of knowledge, it is a constant exercise of exploring perspectives outside of ourselves, and reading is a powerful tool in the pursuit of understanding. We know that any action we undertake as artists or activists stands on the shoulders of those who came before us, and through reading and discussing the work of artists, activists, and politicians of the past we can use their lessons to inform our work in the present and future.
Goodreads is an app and website for book lovers. Individuals can track what they’re reading, review books, create “shelves” of their favorites, and get recommendations based on what they like, while authors can update and communicate directly with their fans and readers. Another great function of goodreads is its ease in facilitating book groups. The Back to Work Collective goodreads group will be a place where we can:
Kelly Webb is an actor, director and writer living in Brooklyn.
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