I left the house at 6:30 am this morning to go from Brooklyn to the Upper West Side to perform an extract of RASH to the students and faculty of Trinity School. When I left home, it was dark and all the cafes were still closed. I never imagined I would be performing RASH at 8am before my first cup of coffee! But there I was on stage in a lovely theatre in front of 550 students aged 15-18 years and the faculty.
I only discovered after the performance (thankfully!) that the Trinity crowd is a tough one, but the feedback I received was overwhelmingly positive. I was fortunate to have pleased both the students and the teachers. Having gone to a pretty rubbish local high school, I was amazed and inspired to see a school like Trinity, both in terms of the students themselves, the faculty and the school program. Just an example, almost every day of the year, there is a speaker or performer that addresses the morning assembly. When I asked the Dean of Co-Curricular Learning if the students realize how privileged they are, I was pleased to hear a resounding yes.
After my performance, I shared some personal anecdotes about my life in the field and the transition to WITNESS. I showed a short video and talked about WITNESS, as well as my belief in the power of arts and human rights, whether it be theatre, video, photography etc to raise awareness and mobilize people to action. There was only time for one question. "Who are the most unlikely human rights abusers you have come across?" I talked about some of the abuses that WITNESS is confronting right here in the US, abuse against the elderly, the existence of child trafficking and treatment of child prostitutes.
I hope this is the first of many performances at schools. This confirmed my strong belief that high schools are an ideal setting for RASH performances. If any of you Trinity folks come across this blog post, please do let me know what you thought of the play. And thanks for being such a wonderful audience.