BY MATT HUNE
"Theatre can help us build our future rather than just waiting for it."
Brazilian Theatre Artist and Political Activist
Augusto Boal's famous quote kept creeping up in my mind when I was putting together this season. As a theatre director and teacher, I find myself embodying many different roles throughout my day. One of the most vital roles that I play, however, and the reason I do what I do, is the role of activist. Harvey Milk said, "politics is theatre," and if that's the case then theatre is political.
As I considered the upcoming season and reflected upon themes that would lead to meaningful thought and dialogue for our audiences, guns and education seemed the obvious choices. These are two aspects of our society that are currently being ferociously debated and in need of platforms for constructive community debate and engagement.
All of the characters in the shows of the upcoming season are stuck in a mess and are desperately reaching for something better. These stories are about the state of education in America; they are about guns in America; they are about how guns and education cross at a dangerous intersection; and they are about how Americans deal with problems. Three out of five of these shows are about schools and guns, which may seem heavy-handed and overwhelming, but so are our gun epidemic and public education system. We have a Secretary of Education who is absolutely silent when it comes to school shootings; HISD's Board of Education seems to be spiraling into mayhem.
These are mad, crazy times for sure. The world has become more baffling. Those with the loudest voices and most power spout what sounds to many like nonsense, not answers. The characters in these plays are all deciding whether "to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles." That is the question and spirit of our season.
I'm so honored to be premiering these exceptional shows for Houston. I'm also excited to announce that Rec Room will be partnering with local government leaders and non-profit organizations who are dedicated to addressing the problems facing our public schools and advancing reforms which will curb gun violence. Throughout our season we will donate a portion of our ticket sales to those associations.
To some, Rec Room is small potatoes. There are people in Houston who have never heard of us, and I get it. But to me, Rec Room is massive. It's the place that provides Houston artists, including me, the opportunity to share our heart, soul, and guts so that we can perhaps contribute to progress in our city, country, and world. For us at Rec Room, theatre is our platform, and maybe even our super power. We are small, but we have a mighty voice. I welcome you here and encourage you to tell your Rec Room story to the community. Spread the word so that this small, scrappy stage can become a place for critically epic performances. Let's put Houston on the map as a leader in innovative, new performance.
I'll see you all at the shows.