|Bobbie Steinbach and Jeanine Kane|
We are about to begin the third week of Joyce Van Dyke's intimate and epic Deported/a dream play. Dreams, music, beautiful and terrible memories, nightmares, dances, haunting songs, weddings, lost babies, new babies, violence, stories that can't be told, compassion, traditions and so many more elements are part of this many-layered phantasmagorical flying carpet ride.
I play Joyce's grandmother Victoria in the play. Deported is Victoria's story and the story of her best friend Varter, played by Jeanine Kane, a wonderful new face in town (she is a long-time company member at the Gamm Theatre in Rhode Island). The amazing ensemble includes Ken Baltin, Marya Lowry, Rob Najarian, Liz Hayes and Marc Cohen, all playing a number of different roles, as well as six students from Suffolk who are the Dreamers and the beautiful Dancers.
Judy Braha is at the helm and each night with her extraordinary vision and guidance we explore this very rich and layered play. And, I can't imagine not having Joyce in the room to help us unlock some of the play's subtleties and answer some of the difficult questions the play puts out there.
How do we keep the past alive? How do we bury the past? What ghosts dance through our dreams, our nightmares? What joyous memories do we hold in our hearts? What does it take to move forward "beyond forgetting, beyond forgiveness, beyond revenge, beyond imagining?" If we tell stories that "can't be told," can we change the never-ending cycle of violence, brutality and incomprehensible acts that have erupted for eons?
Nicholas Kristoff's weekly column in the Sunday Times' Week in Review tells these stories. This past Sunday's column "Are We Seeing Another Dafur?," about what is happening to the Nuba people in Sudan, is yet another example of what humans do to each other. And, I must say it, the women and children get the worst of it...unbearable images. Over and over and over. Deported is a memorial to all the dead, and the survivors and a living breathing attempt to move on, to build a better world. I am honored to be part of this important and beautiful play. And a little bit scared!
I love this poem by William Saroyan -- an anthem to the strength and resilience of the Armenian culture. It speaks to all cultures that have been violated, wiped out, forgotten and resurrected.
I SHOULD LIKE TO SEE ANYONE IN THIS WORLD DESTROY THIS RACE,
THIS SMALL TRIBE OF UNIMPORTANT PEOPLE WHOSE HISTORY IS ENDED,
WHOSE WARS HAVE BEEN FOUGHT AND LOST,
WHOSE STRUCTURES HAVE CRUMBLED,
WHOSE LITERATURE IS UNREAD, WHOSE MUSIC IS UNHEARD,
AND WHOSE PRAYERS ARE NO MORE ANSWERED.
GO AHEAD, DESTROY THIS RACE! DESTROY ARMENIA!
SEE IF YOU CAN DO IT.
SEND THEM FROM THEIR HOMES INTO THE DESERT.
LET THEM HAVE NEITHER BREAD NOR WATER. BURN THEIR HOMES AND CHURCHES.
THEN, SEE IF THEY WILL NOT LAUGH AGAIN,
SEE IF THEY WILL NOT SING AND PRAY AGAIN.
FOR WHEN TWO OF THEM MEET ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD,
SEE IF THEY WILL CREATE A NEW ARMENIA.
-- Bobbie Steinbach, Actor