If you have still yet to grab a ticket to Time Stands Still, maybe tomorrow’s talkback will twist your arm to go ahead and make a plan?
Immediately following the performance, audience members will join the creative team and representatives from CAIR Florida to discuss the play and how it connects to today. Though Time Stands Still is at its core a love story, the play offers many critiques of how Western media and even art packages and presents the Arab-Islamic world (and more broadly all Others). How are we as Westerners duped by such representations, and what are those greater narratives being woven telling us and leading us to believe? As Mandy in the play says in hearing of conflict and tragedy around the world: “what am I supposed to do with this information?” James directly (and in a hilarious metatheatrical move) critiques all theater, calling it nothing more than a way to assuage liberal guilt. How can we hold ourselves and each other more accountable?
I will begin with a few words and then first offer the floor to our guests to each respond to the play. Laila Abdelaziz, Muaaz Hassan, and Katherine Heffner all joined us for our post-show discussion after Lebensraum and I am happy to bring them back to once again be part of the talk. After our guests each respond we’ll open it up to questions and comments from the audience. The goal here is simply conversation. To hear each others’ standpoints and stories. This is how we build community. This is how we gain an understanding of one another. Maybe I’m romanticizing things, but it seems that once upon a time when you went to see a play or a great film that we’d immediately go in our small groups to the pub or a cafe and have a quaff or a bit of dessert and talk about what we saw. I feel like we don’t really do that anymore. We get back in our vehicle and commute back to where ever, safe in our echo chamber.
The prejudice against Arabs and Muslims I have seen in recent years, the xenophobia and the hate, frightens me. Disgusts me. I’ve developed strong bonds with students and colleagues who came to this country as refugees from places like Syria and Palestine. I know many who have simply immigrated here: very observant Pakistani Muslims, very liberal Muslims from Tunisia and Egypt, Christian Moroccans and Iraqis. Others are second generation non-religious Arab-Americans from places like Tennessee, thick accent and all. I have listened to their stories. Not just about how they are treated here, but their struggles to get here, stories both good and bad of where they came from and the people they knew. The world is a big, complicated place. The world may be better than how we’re behaving right now (which I believe fully on my best days, less so on others), but I also believe that as Americans we have to do better than we currently are. This is my stake in this, and Jobsite is dedicated to being a space where we can come together and have discussions like it.
So, whether you want to come and ask us how we learned all those lines or something deeper, I hope to see you there. 🙂 I promise you it will be worth it.