“How do you talk about 300 years in four minutes? Was it ever so apparent we need this dialogue?” — Lorraine Hansberry, 1964
“This country is your problem and it is my problem.” — James Baldwin, 1968
Fueled by the urgency of our present moment, The Commissary, a multigenerational collective of more than 40 theatre artists, have come together to reinvestigate the words of trailblazing artists and activists who survived and created in times of revolution in our country. Baldwin. Giovanni. Davis. Lorde. Hansberry. Rustin. Hamer. In Lessons in Survival, a cohort of actors channel historic conversations, interviews and speeches, listening to original broadcasts on an in-ear feed and speaking exactly what they hear. In bringing these words to new life in the present, they ask what these voices can teach us about our country now and the opportunity for true change that stands before us. How might they propel us to look courageously at the effects of systemic racism, to imagine ourselves outside of its prescriptions, and to create, together, a shared future of collective liberation?
Lessons in Survival will continue to develop throughout the season, with The Commissary as an artistic-collective-in-residence at The Vineyard, and will be shared with audiences at different stages over the coming months. Join us in October for the first round of eight performances and four open rehearsals. Each Sunday, free weekly community conversations with current leaders will build on the legacy of daring conversations that reflect the times and inspire the future.