Thursday, June 18, 2020

"A Breath for George" by New Dawn Theatre

New Dawn Theatre is a relatively new #TCTheater company, but they wasted no time in responding to the recent murder of George Floyd and the local and nationwide protests that followed. They have created a film called A Breath for George that features local artists, advocates, scholars, and community leaders sharing songs, spoken word, poetry, and stories about racism. Every night this week, and continuing into next week, the film is playing outdoors at theaters around town. I attended the showing at Gremlin Theatre last night, and found it to be incredibly powerful and moving. I believe in the power of theater to change the world, and I commend New Dawn for taking part in the important conversation around racism that's happening in all walks of life right now.

The program explains the concept of this piece: "A Breath for George was created by New Dawn Theatre and Minnesota artists as a platform to: honor Mr. Floyd's life; speak to this moment and moments past openly and honestly; and to share avenues which promote hope and positive changes for the future. A Breath for George gives voice to the ways Black citizens and residents historically have been negatively affected emotionally, physically and financially by systemic racism and nationwide police voilence."

New Dawn's Artistic Director Austene Van introduces the film (live and in person!), a beautifully compiled film that weaves together performances and conversations from many familiar faces. Music that will bring tears to your eyes, poems that will break your heart, and personal stories of discrimination that will make you angry. This feels like a pivotal moment in American history, with a pandemic that has clearly shown us the flaws in our systems, and the repeated killing of Black people by police that simply cannot continue. It's an opportunity for us to restructure and make equitable all facets of life - policing, health care, education, criminal justice, employment, housing, even theater. As a white theater blogger, I will strive to listen to, share, and amplify the voices of the BIPOC community.

New Dawn could have released this film online, like so many theaters have been doing the last few months. But there's something about gathering in the same space for a shared experience that makes it so much more meaningful. That's why we go to the theater. That's why we gather at protests, marches, ceremonies, rituals, celebrations, sporting events. To be together, to breathe together, and feel the connection. Of course, breathing together is dangerous right now due to the pandemic, which makes this sort of communion more challenging (masks and social distancing are practiced at these screenings). And George's last words were that he couldn't breathe. So we breathe for him, and the countless Black men and women who have had their breath, their life, taken from them.

Here's a list of upcoming showings as of now, but please check social media and New Dawn's website for more up-to-date info:

Thursday, June 18 @ 7:30PM & 8:30PM
PLYMOUTH CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH

Friday, June 19 @ 7:30PM & 8:30PM
PENUMBRA THEATRE

Saturday, June 20 @ 7:30PM & 8:30PM
PILLSBURY HOUSE AND THEATER

Sunday, June 21 @ 7:30PM & 8:30PM
YELLOW TREE THEATRE

Monday, June 22 @ 8:30PM
HISTORY THEATRE

Wednesday, June 24 @ 8:00PM
LYRIC ARTS

Thursday, June 25 @ 8:00PM
LAKESHORE PLAYERS THEATRE

Friday, June 26 @ 8:00PM
CHICAGO AVENUE FIRE ARTS CENTER

Saturday, June 27 @ 8PM
ORDWAY CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS

Sunday, June 28 @ 8PM
ORDWAY CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS

Monday, June 29 @ 8PM
GUTHRIE THEATER

Tuesday, June 30 @ 8PM
GUTHRIE THEATER

Thursday, July 2 @ 8pm
DARK AND STORMY (GRAIN BELT WAREHOUSE)

Sunday, July 5 @ 8PM
CHANHASSEN DINNER THEATRES

Tuesday, July 7 @ 8PM
DALEKOARTS

Thursday, July 9 @ 8PM
MINNESOTA STATE UNIVERSITY MOORHEAD

If you're looking for a way to help, New Dawn has put together this handy Action Guide: Ways to Get Involved, aka "Power Pamphlet."


#BlackLivesMatter #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd

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