The Why

  • Posted on: 7 December 2011
  • By: Tony

“When I see the world around me it is very hard, very hard to stand that. It is very hard to live with all these kind(s) of terrible things happening all around me. Can be in the neighborhood, can be in other countries. It’s hard to live with trouble all around and all this death and all these wars, so music helps me to live.” ~Manu Chao

Halcyon theatre was formed to connect, transform and ascend towards a more just union.

To borrow from wiser men than I, Art should not be merely a thermometer that records the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it is a thermostat that transforms the mores of society.

I recall when I once saw Saving Private Ryan at the movies. I saw a teenager push an elderly man out of the way. “Out of my way you old fucker.” After the movie the kid sought out the old man and hugged him. Through art, the young man saw the elderly as human for the first time.

The Sermon at the Mount tells us: Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled...You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do me light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it gives light unto all that are in the house.

We must light a candle to illuminate the mirrors of our nature. So often the theatre is a weak and ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an arch-defender of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of theatres, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the silent--and often even vocal--sanction of things as they are.

When Dr. King was in Chicago, he spoke at Temple Sholom. He spoke of the anti-semitism of some in the civil rights movement. It pained him for, as he told the congregation, “anti-semitism, is not anti-jew. It is anti-human and anti-God.” Such is the unjust world we propagate. We often speak of love, of harmony. But there can be no harmony, and little love or equality, without justice.

Our mission is to make the stage as diverse as the city of Chicago. Our values are Innovation, Diversity, Connection and Honest Dialogue, Eradicating Borders, and Transparency and Openness. The vision was recently laid out.

The “why” is more simple. To inspire our communities to incite change so we together can ascend towards a more just union. Our art is made to agitate for justice. Anything less is anti-human.

 As Cesar Chavez said, “Once social change begins, it cannot be reversed. You cannot un-educate the person who has learned to read. You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride. You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore. “