Community Matters at People’s Light aims to spark conversation about relevant issues in the community with a diverse array of perspectives and voices. Performed readings of new plays are the centerpiece of each evening, followed by a discussion with community partners, special guests, artists, and audiences. The readings are free, but seating is limited; reservations are required. To reserve, call 610.644.3500 or visit PeoplesLight.org. People’s Light is located at 39 Conestoga Road, Malvern, PA 19355.
The sixth season of Community Matters features the reading and discussion of plays focused on the ethics surrounding medical advancement, patient advocacy, and the value, nature and evolution of privacy. Discussion facilitator and Company Member David Bradley describes Community Matters events as “the best kind of living room. We all share something together-a play-and then get to talk about how it ties to our lives and what matters to us, to our families, to our communities.
“In August, that means conversations about health care, and privacy, and what we choose to value and protect in these arenas. It’s not political debate. It’s not policy. It’s conversation, and exchange, and letting the theatre open up new ways of seeing, listening, understanding.”
Amidst ongoing anxiety about the future of healthcare in our country, the next of these critical conversations takes place on August 14 with a reading of Roz & Ray, by award-winning playwright Karen Hartman. The gripping piece follows one doctor’s ethical struggle at the onset of the AIDS crisis in the 1980s, exploring dilemmas related to patient advocacy and the healthcare industry that continue to resonate. Cast includes Teri Lamm and James Ijames, with Saige Hassler reading stage directions. People’s Light Producing Director Zak Berkman directs.
Hartman’s world premiere play, Project Dawn, closed on the People’s Light Steinbright Stage just last month. According to Berkman, who has been integral in bringing her work to Malvern, “Karen finds original and vibrant ways to infuse deeply personal experiences into potent social issues. In the face of extreme circumstances, she creates characters who are flawed and extraordinary all at once. As a result, she allows us to recognize in the people on stage and in ourselves what makes humanity so fascinating, challenging, so worthy of constant reflection and revision.”
On August 21, Community Matters addresses the question of privacy in the digital era of omnipresent surveillance. P3M5: Plurality of Privacy Project in Five-Minute Plays consists of eight short plays commissioned by the Goethe Institute from playwrights around the globe: Rebecca Gilman (US), Philip Kan Gotanda (US), David Greig (UK), Simon Hamer (Slovenia), Kenneth Lin (US), Alex Lorette (Belgium), Mihaela Michailov (Romania), and Clemens J Setz (Austria). Their diverse voices offer multiple perspectives on navigating what we share about ourselves and what, if anything, we can hope to keep private. AbiGail Adams, Gina Pisasale, Harriet Power, Cat Ramirez, Marcia Saunders, and Bethany Asplundh are among the directors, and the plays feature nearly two dozen performers, including company members and area artists.
Marcie Bramucci, People’s Light Director of Community Investment, produces the annual series of free readings. For her, “the plays are a jumping off point for the main event – our sharing of experiences, perspectives, and area resources.
“The range of diverse voices present for these unique evenings is everywhere as exciting, even more so, than the content on stage. Audiences drawn to this series lean forward to fully engage as deep listeners and thoughtful participants in the conversation. And where else might you find highly renowned and newly emerging artists working side by side and in conversation with the likes of (for example) an internal hacker, a public librarian, and a seasoned criminal justice lawyer? For a few hours on a Monday evening in Malvern, a roomful of strangers gather to chew on topics that, well, matter.”
Community Matters is supported in part by the Phoenixville Community Health Foundation and Rebecca Bradbeer.
ROZ & RAY
By Karen Hartman (Project Dawn, 2017)
Monday, August 14, 2017, 7pm
Leonard C. Haas Stage
“You want to talk about skin in the game? Every one of my patients stuck a needle in my arm. I rolled up my sleeve and made it personal.”
The gripping untold story of one doctor’s ethical struggle at the onset of the AIDS crisis in the 1980s. Dr. Roz thinks she’s found the right cure in a new miracle drug for Ray Leon’s hemophiliac twins – until the miracle goes bad.
Post-performance discussion will address the healthcare industry and patient advocacy.
Panelists: Mary Ellen T. Miller, PhD, RN, APHN-BC, Associate Professor Emeritus, DeSales University
Marilyn Benoit, M.D., SHSA, SCP and Chief Medical Officer, Chief Clinical Officer, Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health
Shelly Bloom, Director of Legislative Awareness and Training, Emerson Reid, LLC
About the Playwright: Karen Hartman has had four productions of three world premieres this season: Roz and Ray at Victory Gardens and Seattle Repertory Theater (Edgerton New Play Prize winner), Book of Joseph, and Project Dawn. All three plays have productions set for the 2017/18 season as well. Her Goldie, Max, and Milk premiered at Florida Stage and the Phoenix Theater, and was nominated for the Steinberg and Carbonell Awards. Other works: Gaza Rehearsal (Victory Gardens Ignition Festival), Goliath (Dorothy Silver New Play Prize), Gum, Leah’s Train, Going Gone (N.E.A. New Play Grant); Girl Under Grain (Best Drama in NY Fringe); Wild Kate, ALICE: Tales of a Curious Girl (Music by Gina Leishman, AT&T Onstage Award); Troy Women; and MotherBone, score by Graham Reynolds (Frederick Loewe Award). New York: Women’s Project, National Asian American Theatre Company, P73, Summer Play Festival. Regional: Center Stage,
Cincinnati Playhouse, Dallas Theater Center, the Magic, and elsewhere. Publications: Theater Communications Group, Dramatists Play Service, Playscripts, Backstage Books, and NoPassport Press. Honors: McKnight National Residency, New Dramatists, Sustainable Arts, Rockefeller Foundation at Bellagio, the N.E.A., the Helen Merrill Foundation, Daryl Roth “Creative Spirit” Award, Hodder Fellowship, Jerome Fellowship, Fulbright Scholarship. A longtime New Yorker, Ms. Hartman is now Senior Artist in Residence at University of Washington, Seattle. Her prose appears in The New York Times and The Washington Post. www.karenhartman.org.
P3M5: Plurality of Privacy Project in Five-Minute Plays
Monday, August 21, 2017, 7pm
Leonard C. Haas Stage
A series of newly commissioned 5-minute plays from writers around the world investigating the value, nature, and evolution of privacy. Playwrights include: Rebecca Gilman (US), David Greig (UK), Simona Hamer (Slovenia), Kenneth Lin (US), Alex Lorette (Belgium), Mihaela Michailov (Romania) and more.
Post-performance discussion will address the value, nature, and evolution of privacy.
Panelists: Peter Goldberger, Private Attorney and Vice President of the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania
Kate Boyle, Director of Reference and Technology, Tredyffrin Public Library
Marc Dubach, Information Security, SEI
About the Goethe Institute
The Goethe-Institut is the Federal Republic of Germany’s cultural institute, active worldwide. We promote the study of German abroad and encourage international cultural exchange.
ABOUT PEOPLE’S LIGHT
Now in its 42nd season, People’s Light, a professional, not-for-profit theatre in Chester County, Pennsylvania, makes plays drawn from many sources to entertain, inspire, and engage our community. We extend our mission of making and experiencing theatre through arts education programs that excite curiosity about, and deepen understanding of, the world around us. These plays and programs bring people together and provide opportunities for reflection, discovery, and celebration. Founded in 1974, we produce eight to nine plays each season, in two black box theatres with 340 and 160 seats respectively, mixing world premieres, contemporary plays, and fresh approaches to classic texts.