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Lycoming College presents virtual performance of “Collective Empathy Formation 1968-2018”

Lycoming College presents virtual performance of “Collective Empathy Formation 1968-2018”

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Part of Lycoming College’s 2020-21 theatre season, the “dismantled” series continues with a virtual reading of “Collective Empathy Formation 1968-2018,” Feb. 27, at 7:30 p.m. The live performance is free and open to the public. Click here to access.

“dismantled” provides an opportunity for the campus community to further advance its conversation about societal change, most specifically, problems of race. Directed and organized by Nigel Semaj ’17, the collection of plays focuses on the narratives of Black and brown people, equity, diversity, inclusion, and how to move toward a collective liberation. Each virtual reading is followed by talkbacks with invited guests.

“Collective Empathy Formation 1968-2018” sees five research study participants gather in a conference room. Their task appears simple and straight-forward: select 10 events from the year 1968 that they feel impacted the nation’s conscious and view of empathy. What transpires is a reflection of what is seen, heard, and missed when history, memory, and living bodies must merge in unflinching ways.

Semaj explained that the piece will help to show attendees how different bodies move through the world and experience history in different ways. “The world is viewed through many different lenses and there are differences in how people empathize with a history that is not their own. If we look back, we may find that historical events did not necessarily shape the world as much as people once thought they would,” he said.

“With this piece, viewers will witness people unable to leave a room until a challenging task is achieved. They’ll see what happens when these people have to confront difficult conversations about race and history,” he continued. “I would like for people to take away from this experience a new sense of empathy.”

All four live performances of the “dismantled” series begin at 7:30 p.m., are free and open to the public, and can be accessed at: https://www.lycoming.edu/theatre/schedule.aspx. The series includes:

  • Feb. 20: “A Case for Black Girls Setting Central Park on Fire” by Kori Alston
  • Feb. 27: “Collective Empathy Formation from 1968 and 2018” by Calley N. Anderson
  • March 6: “Spell Number 7” by Ntozake Shange
  • March 13: “Lyon’s Den” by TJ Young

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