All That Rises highlights art for social change

September 5, 2013  |  Media Contact: Courtney Coelho |  401-863-7287
Freedom Theatre - Athol Fugard’s The Island is about 
two prisoners in Apartheid South Africa who spend nights in their cell rehearsing for a performance of Antigone. Freedom Theatre sets the play in Palestine.
Freedom Theatre Athol Fugard’s The Island is about two prisoners in Apartheid South Africa who spend nights in their cell rehearsing for a performance of Antigone. Freedom Theatre sets the play in Palestine.
The fourth annual All That Rises performance series brings international artists to Brown in the name of art for social change. This year’s performers include the Palestine-based Jenin Refugee Camp’s Freedom Theatre, French poet and playwright Helene Cixous, and playwright, producer, and director Joanne Pottlitzer. Performances will take place September 11, 24, 26, 27, and October 2. 

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Art, in its many forms, can serve to both entertain and effect change. It is the latter that will be the focus of the upcoming All That Rises series of performances organized by the Department of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies. Now in its fourth year, All That Rises brings to campus international artists who seek to increase awareness of social inequities, political resistance, and liberation. This year’s performers include the Palestine-based Jenin Refugee Camp’s Freedom Theatre, French poet and playwright Helene Cixous, and playwright and producer/director Joanne Pottlitzer.

“We’re really fortunate to have the mix of artists we have this year,” said Erik Ehn, professor and chair of theatre arts. “The special talents of each performer contribute to the larger mosaic.”

The goal of the series, Ehn said, is to demonstrate the ways in which theatre can be a vehicle for “art for social change.”

“Through creative acts, artists for social change find space to reinvent the political future. One of the great things art is used for is to provide space to experiment with coexistence,” Ehn said.

This year All That Rises kicks off on September 11 with the Jenin Refugee Camp’s Freedom Theatre, performing their interpretation of Athol Fugard’s The Island. The original two-person play is about two prisoners who share a cell during the time of Apartheid in South Africa and spend their nights rehearsing for a performance of Antigone. Freedom Theatre’s interpretation brings the setting of the play to Palestine.

“They come as artists, open to exchange. It’s not a diatribe, it’s not banner-waving, it’s space,” said Ehn, describing how Freedom Theatre conveys its message.

Ehn said he believes students interested in the arts will find inspiration in the way the performers use their platform.

“A lot of the theatre students are interested in techniques of art for social change, and Freedom Theatre can really speak to those and the changes that result.”

The series continues with three events on September 24, 26, and 27 featuring French poet and playwright Helene Cixous, whose recent works for theater are increasingly concerned with ethical and political questions in contemporary history, especially the effects of colonialism, corruption, and social injustice. Cixous’ visit will include a lecture and a film screening and discussion of her new play Castaways of the Fol Espoir.

On October 2, playwright and producer/director Joanne Potlitzer will perform a staged reading of Between Hope and Freedom, a dramatization she is developing based on narratives from her book-in-progress Symbols of Resistance: The Legacy of Artists Under Pinochet, the product of interviews with writers, playwrights, musicians, and visual artists in Chile.

The series is co-sponsored by Brown’s Creative Arts Council, the Department of Literary Arts, the Center for Latin American Studies, the Department of History, the Middle East Studies Program and the Office of International Affairs. For more information, visit www.brown.edu/taps.

All That Rises

7 p.m. Wednesday, September 11
Jenin Freedom Theatre performs Athol Fugard’s The Island
Granoff Center for the Creative Arts, Studio 1, 154 Angell St.

2:30 p.m. Tuesday, September 24
A six-hour screening of a filmed version of Cixous’ Castaways of the Fol Espoir
Lyman Hall, 77 Waterman St.

7 p.m. Thursday, September 26
Helene Cixous, “The Shout,” a reflection on the origins of literature that engages, among other things, a reconsideration of Sophocles’ Ajax.
Metcalf Auditorium, 190-194 Thayer St.

2 p.m. Friday, September 27
A discussion of Castaways of the Fol Espoir, with Cixous and Eric Prenowitz, a lecturer in the School of Fine Art, Leeds University.
Salomon Center for Teaching, the College Green

8 p.m. Wednesday, October 2
A staged reading of Between Hope and Freedom, based on Joanne Pottlitzer’s book-in-progress Symbols of Resistance: The Legacy of Artists Under Pinochet
Granoff Center for the Creative Arts, Studio 1, 154 Angell St.

Editors: Brown University has a fiber link television studio available for domestic and international live and taped interviews, and maintains an ISDN line for radio interviews. For more information, call (401) 863-2476.