Yes, this was a great weekend for the many students who went on Grove City College’s trip to see the play “Disgraced.”
This trip was a small part of the college’s student experience project. Through this project, faculty and staff seek to bring students in contact with theatrical productions. But beyond just viewing plays, their desire is to generate discussion and learning from the themes brought forth in the productions.
I was one of the couple dozen students who got on the bus for Pittsburgh that day.
Through the rainy drive, I had some time to think about the play we would be viewing. I heard that it would be controversial.
That it was. For those unfamiliar with Ayad Akhtar’s “Disgraced,” it tells the story of a Pakistani American named Amir. The snippet of Amir’s life shown in the play is chalked-full of conflict. Almost all of this conflict arises from misplaced tradition, prejudice and betrayal. Charlene Shaw, one of the coordinators of the event, remarked on Facebook that it was a “sharp, honest, focused snapshot in 90 minutes of the complexities of our global society.”
It left a lot of us thinking.
We got to keep thinking as we chewed on some delicious local pizza and accompanying desert.
Gathering in a large room, we sat and engaged in conversation with the panel composed of faculty members and the president. Their answers helped us make sense of the themes of the play, even extending to discussions of the PATRIOT Act, current racial issues in the business world and the history of countries that have had to integrate vastly different cultures. Many students presented their opinions and reservations about the subject.
Following this symposium, we got on the bus to drive back to campus. It was another thoughtful, “stare-out-the-window” kind of ride.
I am excited to write about such an opportunity. Viewing intriguing art forms and grappling with difficult current ideas are things that I came to college seeking. Grove City College does a fantastic job of giving students opportunities to think and engage with different ideas and worldviews.