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Theaters Against War Brings Youthful Voices to Brooklyn

“To omit or to minimize these voices of resistance is to create the idea that power only rests with those who have the guns, who possess the wealth, who own the newspapers and the television stations. I want to point out that people who seem to have no power, whether working people, people of color, or women - once they organize and protest and create movements - have a voice no government can suppress.”

— Howard Zinn

Theaters Against War (THAW) and Brooklyn Nonviolent Communication (Brooklyn NVC) will host an evening of reading performances based upon Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove’s book, Voices of a People’s History of the United States February 4 at NVC in Brooklyn.

Titled “Voices: World-Changing Radical Historical Figures Brought to Life by Brooklyn Youth,” the evening is the second of what THAW organizer Lucia Scheckner hopes will be a series of reading performances covering all five New York City boroughs, coming on the heels of THAW’s successful similar presentation in Harlem last December.

“The social justice movement has had a profound impact, from who is allowed to vote to the five-day workweek,” says Scheckner, “so it’s exciting to witness young people getting involved, gaining a broader perspective, and thinking about the kind of world they want to live in.”

Voices is co-editor Zinn and Arnove’s companion to their A People’s History of the United States. Paralleling the twenty-four chapter structure of this earlier, best-selling volume, Zinn and Arnove selected a variety of primary-source testimonial material, from brief poems to longer essays and speeches chronicling the 400+ years of resistance in America—reaching from Bartolomé de Las Casas,’ “The Devastation of the Indies” in 1542 to Kurt Vonnegut in 2004. The Brooklyn evening will draw from the words of Langston Hughes, Billie Holiday, Alice Walker, Public Enemy, Susan B. Anthony, and others.

The Brooklyn youth performing in the event began their preparation by attending a series of drama workshops in January, organized by THAW, and received additional training in communication skills from Brooklyn NVC.

“The ‘Voices’ reading fits well with Brooklyn NVC’s vision of creating a world where people’s needs are peacefully met,” notes Brooklyn NVC director Dian Killian. “It reflects a vision that speaks to the core of human values, for mutuality, dignity and respect.”

Co-editor Arnove and actor Brian Jones, who toured the country as Marx in Zinn’s one-man play, Marx in Soho, will narrate the Brooklyn performance and will be available for a post-performance discussion.

Next stop on THAW’s Voices tour: Queens.

The Brooklyn performance of “Voices” will be held on Saturday, February 4th at 7pm at Brooklyn Nonviolent Communication, 421 Fifth Avenue (at 9th St), 2nd Floor, Park Slope, Brooklyn. Brooklyn NVC can be easily reached by the R or F trains.

General admission for the event is $15 and for youth (under 21) and low income, $10. Proceeds from the event will benefit Brooklyn NVC and its community programs, including scholarships. No one will be turned away for lack of funds.

“Voices: World-Changing Radical Historical Figures Brought to Life by Brooklyn Youth” is endorsed by the following organizations: Brooklyn Arts Exchange (BAX), Brooklyn Parents for Peace, Center for Antiviolence Education (CAE), Ethical Action Committee of the Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture, Village Zendo, and We the World.


The Brooklyn Rail

FEB 2006

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