Week 3: Re-Imagining Our Future(s)
“Imperialism leaves behind germs of rot which we must clinically detect and remove from our land but from our minds as well.”
— Franz Fanon
What do we mean at Pangea by decolonization?
It means we work with an awareness of the land and the First Nations Peoples, the Dakota and Ojibwe, who stewarded this land before colonization. It means we honor and partner with First Nations, and we stand for Indigenous sovereignty.
And we recognize that history and the ongoing presence of colonialism is what structures not only the political systems around us, but it also lives in our bodies, our minds, our relationships, and our art. Every day we recommit ourselves to decolonization.
We will never be able to undo colonization or go back to what existed before, but we can find sustainable, equitable ways of relating to one another and creating art that brings us closer to a world free of colonial domination.
We source knowledge from culture and tradition, celebrating the differences among us, and looking to the future.
This is how we create a circle that holds all of us.
Here are some simple practices we use that make a tremendous difference as we do our work.
Two Minutes of Silence
By Adlyn Carreras
Two Minutes is a ritual that I practice within my professional and personal life. I learned about Two Minutes when I first performed with Pangea World Theater 10 years ago. It was introduced to me as a way of settling my mind, breathing together with those around me, and preparing myself to do my best work in the rehearsal room. We sat in a circle in the studio with a lit candle or lamp placed it in the middle of our circle. The fire represented anything I thought was meaningful and that I wanted to “bring to the space” for that day. It could be my ancestors, my teachers, or my family. Someone would ding bells and we would sit for “two minutes”. These minutes were not timed, they were sensed. After the appropriate amount of time, the bells would be dinged again and this ended the ritual. My mind and body felt relaxed and prepared to fully engage in whatever we had to do in rehearsal that day. As we continued to do this at the beginning of every rehearsal, I saw the effect this small time had on my approach to the work. For a short amount of time, I left all my worries and concerns at the studio door and was fully focused on my art. It was amazing.
I have incorporated this practice into other areas of my life. At Pangea we do this ritual before every meeting, rehearsal, or event, whether it’s two people or 200 people. At home, I’ve taught my children to do this for themselves when they need it and we practice it before having important conversations. My husband, who also learned the ritual from Pangea, does it within his personal preparation for the stage or when he teaches. I do Two Minutes whenever I need to calm my mind, when preparing to do my best work on stage or in the office, and at the beginning of every class that I teach. It’s something so simple, yet the benefits are magnificent. I’m grateful to have received this gift for myself and those I love.
Changing The Way We Audition
Dipankar Mukherjee, Co-Artistic Director
Pangea’s first production in 1996 was Conference of the Birds, based on a Sufi poem by Farid Ud Din Attar. When we auditioned for that first play, we advertised in the usual newspapers and asked actors to prepare a classical and contemporary monologue and bring a headshot– all standard practices in the field of professional theater. This was what my western training and regional theater protocols have taught me. We had at least 75 actors show up, ninety percent of whom were Caucasian. I was disappointed.. as i wanted a diverse cast. Then we changed our wordings of the advertising.. to be more inviting.. shifted the requirements to a short story sharing and not only in the english language..
The next day BIPOC actors' presence in the lobby increased dramatically.
I go beyond ONLY assessing surface “craft”.. and monologue rendition style..we meet the artist as a WHOLE person..speak to them first and then ask them to share their story.. in any language they prefer. This has opened doors for multiple communities of color to audition in a powerful manner over the past 20 years. Many BIPOC actors who are powerful actors do not possess degrees of BFA or MFA..yet their lived body politics and experience has sharpened their rigor of physicality and craft!.. Now we have auditions not just in the English language….
Work with Awareness of Privilege
Mollie Lacy, Pangea Development Associate
Audre Lorde wrote, “To acknowledge privilege is the first step in making it available for wider use.” As a white employee of Pangea World Theater who works in Development, I have learned so much about responsibly navigating my own privileges from how Pangea works in community.
When I joined Pangea as an intern in 2012, there were only four people on staff, and the organization was small but mighty. I am glad I got to experience that era of Pangea, because I have seen how as we have grown, the years of being under-invested and overworking have shaped the way we support others. Pangea is committed to opening doors, sharing skills, making introductions, mentoring artists and leaders of new organizations, and advocating for communities of color. As Pangea has grown, Pangea puts more on the line to shift the field of theater towards equity.
This has provided me with a model for how I carry my own privileges. My daily practice at Pangea is to open my mind, without judgement, to an awareness of how my own and others’ privileges are shaping the moment. From there, I can assess whether I am letting privilege become a barrier between me and another person, and re-focus on the work we are here to do together. This healthy awareness of privilege is a continual soft-focus, an openness. It is not driven by guilt or anxiety. It is informed and understanding.
Our Silent Auction is Live!
We are thrilled to share with you the amazing items we have in our silent auction this year!
You will find pieces created by phenomenal artists on staff at Pangea along with incredible artists we have been honored to work side by side with over the years. This auction represents the powerful work being done by and for our community. As you browse, please take time and read the bios and inspirational testimonies from artists who have found a home at Pangea World Theater over the last 25 years.
Bid today for a chance to take home a fantastic item and support our incredible community!
You can join us in this work by making a financial contribution or by bidding on a silent auction item between now and June 30th!