Peggy Pickit Sees the Face of God – Maev Beaty and Tony Nappo Part 2

Theatre Versus Rice and Beans

This post is the second of several discussions that took place over email between Africa Trilogy actors Maev Beaty and Tony Nappo. Click here to read the introduction to Peggy Pickit Sees the Face of God. Here’s Part 1 of this discussion.


So…we have the “should I act?” problem. And then we have the “Okay, so I acted, and it made things worse” problem. I’ve heard it argued (by theatre makers) that making theatre itself is a political act. Whaddya think?


Well, yeah. One of the comments I made to Josette was that there is a certain paradox in what we are doing because we are spending 3 quarters of a million dollars creating a piece of theatre. I mean, that buys a lot of rice and meds. Not to be too reductive. So what is the point here? Awareness, sure, and education. Maybe a better question is what is the responsibility here? Mixing art with politics or creating art from human suffering is nothing new. But the suffering continues. It isn’t past tense.  I suppose the responsibility is to get it right. Truth. And to do it with respect for the segment of humanity that we are speaking on behalf of.  To not just spread the word but to spread the right word. And, at this point, I am not certain what that word is.

I guess that the play(s) here is (are) the thing. That it would be foolish to expect that we are doing anything more than acknowledging the plight at hand with the voices and vision of some incredible world class talent. I guess we are aiming at touching a nerve, provoking reaction. And that the ultimate goal would be to actually have some significant positive effect. As the tomato man in the play within Roland’s play does. I had the thought, after the discussion with Josette that doing these plays in a church basement somewhere would be pointless-like pissing in the ocean. Because of the weight of the subject that Ross has chosen to take on, there is a certain demand for the scale to be monumental(in theatre terms) to ensure that it is seen and heard and can be the catalyst for, or at least the seeds of, change.


Just a quick thought about the political bent – during the last workshop I thought the whole creative team worked hard to clarify the original intention, which was that this commission was about the WEST’s RELATIONSHIP to Africa. It makes me question whether the title of the project is misleading? Because when I think “Africa Trilogy” I tend to forget the West part. Maybe because I’m IN the West and take my own point of view for granted?

~ by volcanotheatre on February 1, 2010.

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