The Intersection of Memory and Perspective

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Theatre is a collaborative process. Inherent in these collaborations are different memories, perspectives, and frames of reference. When these come together through theatrical processes, learning occurs both within and outside the classroom and across disciplines. Whether onstage, involved in producing the play, or as audience, the impact can be retained beyond the immediacy of the performance. Regardless of the way in which one is involved, every participant brings to the experience his or her own frame of reference; no two people will experience the play in precisely the same way. Opportunities exist to empathize, engage, question, challenge viewpoints, and reflect, thereby shifting learning from passive to active. The theatre experience has the power to shed light on the intersections of memory, culture, ethics, and perspective. This article centers on three plays presented in the 2020–2021 theatre season at Eastern Florida State College in Florida. The Guys deals with the events of 9/11. A Song for Coretta is a play that examines memories and perspectives generated by the funeral of Coretta Scott King. Contact with the Enemy examines memory, the construction of narrative, and ethical postures within the context of the Holocaust. All three plays are vehicles for information that is received in a different way from that delivered in a traditional classroom and demonstrate that memory, empathy, and perspective can lead to insight, acknowledgment, understanding, and shared truths. Theatre empowers learning.