Carol Lynn Pearson started with a Jewish saying, “An enemy is someone whose story you do not know” and a question, “What if we each learned the wisdom stories of faith traditions different from our own.”
Premiered for the first time at the 2015 Parliament of World’s Religions, the resulting play “Caravan – a Happy Journey Through Wisdom Tales of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam,” creates understanding of the shared experience and a deeper knowledge of the stories of these three faith traditions. It also caused tears and laughter as the actors wove stories from different traditions into a tapestry of love and friendship.
Actors, Tyson Baker, Anne Brings, Dee-Dee Darby-Duffin, Bijan Hosseini, JJ Neward, Jay Perry, Tito Livas and Susanna Florence Risser from the Plan-B Theatre Company and director Christy Summerhays brought alive the stories for the 2015 Parliament of Religions audience.
After the powerful and poignant and, at times, funny show questions came from the audience, “How did performing in this change you?” “What was the most surprising revelation you had as you worked on this performance?” “What was your biggest challenge?”
Referring to the plays inspiration to development of deep relationships across religious and cultural lines, JJ Neward noted, “For artists to be able to use our art in such a way, is a privilege.”
Christy Summerhays explained, “It was a challenge to find the kind of diversity in the actors that we wanted. The actors today represent several different religious and cultural traditions.”
“It brought us together as a family in a spirit of unity,” said Jay Perry, echoing the opening lines of the play about how we are a family, a very large family, and one that fights sometimes but still a family.
“Plan-B Theatre Company develops and produces unique and socially conscious theatre with a focus on new plays by Utah playwrights,” added Producing Director Jerry Rapier, noting that Carol Lynn Pearson is making the script available to not-for-profit organizations who want to reproduce the play in their own communities.
The final comment from the audience: “The opposite of love is not hate. It is fear. Through understanding each other’s stories we can create love where there was fear.”
I think the next stop for the play should be Spokane, Wash.
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