Dallas — Exciting things are in play with Metamorphosis. What began as an intangible dream is currently transitioning into a vivid reality. In the very near future, Morph will publicly announce its 2018-19 season, the first full artistic season produced by Metamorphosis. Our upcoming season will consist of three full-length investigations into three social justice issues, along with a new works festival. Each play is carefully selected to maintain focus on the organization’s mission. And while collectively we do believe that every play can be directed and performed in such a way as to effectuate social change, when we create a season, we choose plays that incite radical change and urgent action; we choose plays that encourage discussion and debate; we choose plays that howl, “not in my name!” and most significantly; we choose plays that drive communities to fight for social justice. We are going to see new themes in our work with this season, and we are going to work with new artists, new playwrights, new directors, new actors, and so on, while at the same time building on the established strength of Morph’s veteran artists.
In an effort to work with new local playwrights, we intend to use the Dallas Playwrights Collective (DPC) as the focus for new play development at Metamorphosis. The idea is that if we intend to produce a new work, then that new work must go through the workshop process with DPC. The collective will provide the space and support to offer peer feedback on any new works brought into the room, and any consistent members have the opportunity to see their work in a staged reading. DPC has started small but has started strong. We are currently in search for an affordable place to call home every other Saturday. If you know of something, don’t be afraid to contact me and help out.
Alongside our upcoming artistic season, we have officially hired a Director of Education. Her name is Tina M. Brown, a recent transplant from San Diego, who will no doubt bring depth, healing and fun to everything she does at Metamorphosis. Tina joins the Morph family with an extensive background in education and theater. She has led playwriting classes to the inmates at Donovan State Prison; she has worked with classroom teachers to enhance their curriculum by incorporating theater techniques; and she has facilitated equity workshops for graduate students. We are very excited about what she will accomplish in Dallas. Her first endeavor will be to establish Morph ME, our principal educational program that will be established 2018. It will operate as a semester-long, after-school and summer program for urban youth in Dallas and will incorporate theater as a tool to help dismantle the self-hate and internalized oppression that they carry with them every day. Morph ME will implement a curriculum that is inspired by Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed and Rainbow of Desire. The purpose of this curriculum will be to offer youth the tools needed to uncover their internalized oppression and ultimately cast it aside. Within the context of theater, both as a product and much more often as a process, youth will learn the skills and tools needed to be productive and successful members of society. Socio-emotional health will be cultivated and job skills training will be emphasized.
With all of this wonderful stuff on the horizon, with a new employee and with a more consistent performance schedule soon to be in place, comes greater risk and more expenses that give rise to what, to me, has become a necessary evil. I suppose evil is a bit harsh, but who on earth enjoys asking people for money. Perhaps some people are born with a deep rooted desire to ask others for money, but personally, I loathe the experience:
My palms are sweating. My hands are shaking. Sweat begins to drip down my forehead. I can feel the sting of the salty water as it finds its way into my eyes (I must have been dehydrated that day). My heart is racing and I am dreading the next two hours of my life. It’s 2017, and I’ve been invited to a parlor meeting in a nice home off of Turtle Creek. The purpose of the meeting was to hear the president of Hebrew Union College speak, get the opportunity to ask questions and schmooze with him, and to ultimately raise money for the school. Although my Jewish roots may lead you to believe that I might attend such an event in order to support such an important Jewish institution in America, in fact, I showed up with an unrelated motive. I was invited to attend by the aunt of a friend of mine from middle school (Random. I know.), who knew that I was working on developing Metamorphosis and wanted to put me in front of two significant donors to the theater world in Dallas and the social justice world in Dallas.
This parlor meeting was the very last thing I wanted to be doing with my Friday night, but I knew that great things can happen when I put myself out there. So, I fought past my anxiety, wiped off my sweat, and schmoozed so effectively that my bubbie would have been proud. It might have helped that I was the youngest person in the room by at least 30 years. The point is that I put myself out there, I got my name and Metamorphosis’ name in front of two potential donors. Nothing came of it at the moment. I didn’t expect it to. But now that we have all of our marketing material, and we are beginning to solicit donations, I hope that the relationships I have cultivated along the way will pay off financially as we raise funds.
Morph’s annual campaign, “Change for Change!” is officially kicking off and we hope to collect donations of all sizes: from $5 to $500 to $5,000. Our goal is to raise $100,000 which would give us everything we need to accomplish our goals for the 2018-2019 season. To donate online, go to www.morphdallas.org/donate. Any amount is greatly appreciated.
» Aaron Zilbermann, executive artistic director of Metamorphosis: a new living theatre, has worked with Big Thought and other local teaching institutions.
» Living Theatre runs on the third Friday of the month
PREVIOUSLY IN LIVING THEATRE
- Februrary 2017: Introductory column
- March 2017: Going non-profit, boards of directors, and creating original work
- April 2017: Finding space
- May 2017: Zilbermann and Johnson discuss Amiri Baraka's Dutchman, their June production
- June 2017: No column
- July 2017: On starting a theater for social justice
- August 2017: No column
- September 2017: On starting a playwriting collective
- October 2017: Is the non-proft model the only way?
- November/December 2017: No column
- January 2018: Staff changes and preparation for the next production
- February 2018: On the importance of branding
- March/April 2018: No column
- May 2018: Reflecting on the recent production of Day of Absence