Written by
Published on October 2, 2015

The turkey was in the oven; skies were overcast, and the streets were eerily ominous on this Thanksgiving Day. Thunder was trapped inside the confines of the small dwelling, and the clanging of silverware hitting the floor made it a unique storm that would last until the end of time. Shots rang out and his body propelled forward with bullets meant to push him back, and then he froze and slumped to the ground.

Death came suddenly, but the evidence was caught in a painfully slow-motion trickle of blood that refused seep into the earth. It was not like the movies, a quick and messy display of death, it was almost artistic. The way a painter wipes his brush on a scrap swatch, sloppily and haphazardly, but with purpose, even if that purpose is to paint a larger picture.

Unfortunately, this is one story among millions that ends in unimaginable tragedy. The color of blood runs deep, and the wounds run deeper.

It is time for dialogue and action and that is what the symposium is all about. Two theater companies, ReBirth Arts Collective, and New York’s Black Revolutionary Theatre Workshop, and classes and assignments at HCC will offer an expanded view of race in America.This is the first  multi-day symposium, sponsored by Housatonic Theater Arts Program,  where real stories are acted out on stage and discussed across the curriculum and you, the audience. Answer and ask some real questions, heal, absorb, educate, share and start a revolution.

A performance by the ReBirth Arts Collection (photo from their Facebook page)

A performance by the ReBirth Arts Collection (photo from their Facebook page)

The program runs Thursday, October 22  and Friday October 23 at the Housatonic Performing Arts Center from 2:00 pm until 7:00 pm.  

“We always start off by saying we have a race problem in America, and there is one… but that’s not the only face of the gem, we have incredible gifts from race and incredible benefits from race too, and we don’t acknowledge that, or we fight about that,” says Professor Geoff Sheehan, Coordinator of the Theatre Arts Program.  “It’s time to stop asking and start inviting everyone to get involved.”

That is where the collaborative panel begins to take form with information and education from: Criminal Justice, Sociology, Psychology, History, Political Science, Art, Music Literature, Writing, and Business classes.

Sheehan’s goal is to provide a look at race relations in America through a kaleidoscope if you will.

With tears in his eyes, Sheehan added, “It is not about dealing with race through clenched fists and anger on the heels of incidences, when it is dangerous to encounter each other.” His hope is that we can come together and share each other’s experiences in a humane and sincere way.