by Tammy Ryan
Okay, I know, I'm a big liar. I said I was going to read Stop Kiss today but things changed. I have a callback tomorrow for this play - Lost Boy Found in Whole Foods so, since I was reading it anyway, I figured I'd kill two birds with one stone by having it be my play-a-day. Stop Kiss tomorrow, I promise.
Apologies finished, I'd like to repeat what I said earlier this week about how refreshing it is to read new work. I am all about the classics, don't get me wrong, but I'm also really excited by what playwrights are saying NOW. This play is based on real events involving the "Lost Boys" of Sudan (info: here) and their impact on a community in Pennsylvania. It deals with the idea of the "stranger" - how he affects us, changes us, betters us, allows us to see ourselves through his eyes.. The play takes a relatively normal middle class suburban family-story and infuses it with themes of acceptance, charity, and love. For me it raised the question of to what extent do we (or should we) allow fear to affect our actions? We are taught by society to put up walls for our own "safety" but sometimes it's safest to take down those walls and to experience another.
Reading this play reminded me of a reading I participated in down at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival as part of the Southern Writer's Project Festival of New Plays.. called In the Book Of by John Walch. It's also the story of how a foreigner can change a fearful community for the better and in this case, how love triumphs over all. Beautiful story by an amazing playwright - we're doing another reading of it at the end of the month. Details to follow for anyone who is interested.