I am taking a break from Dubai....partly because I have several revelations about this desert 'jewel' I cannot share for fear of offending people I have come to know, like and respect that live and work here...but more because of something going on in my home city and undergrad that have monopolized my attention... Recently I had been 'arguing 'on my Facebook wall, the (UD) after hours series presents page (link below) and the UD Alumni page, for the reinstatement of the staged reading of Sexual Perversity in Chicago by David Mamet; that the University of Dallas, my conservative Catholic school in Dallas, Texas had until recently, cancelled.
I argued for its reinstatement based on the idea that as an institution with a strong core curriculum; high intellectual, moral and ethical standards attended by individuals with faithful convictions, that the students, faculty and staff could allow this play.
I am happy to report that this play will take place this Friday, February 24 at 11:30pm. I don't pretend or suggest that my arguments swayed anyone's decision to the positive. I do hope those of you that are in the Dallas area might take a break from your night out to go to UD and support it, the actors, the drama department and the University; for embracing this challenge and finding a way to make it happen that as I see it from here, is suitable to all. The information, including a map, to UD (across the highway from the old Texas Stadium;( is here:
For my final statement I posted; and if you want to comment and share your thoughts and opinions about this, read on....I have edited only slightly cause I originally posted it from my phone:)
This is what I believe: the University has a right and obligation to monitor what is presented to its students; befitting its stature as a lauded institution of higher learning and as a Catholic school that serves an even larger faithful community and the Highest Authority. That cannot be denied and is absolutely within its purview.
Concurrently, I believe that the school has a responsibility to its students to offer them educational, intellectual and perhaps even moral questions; and the guidance to come up with informed answers....even if the question involves not whether to allow a provocative piece of art, but rather determining the merits of said piece of art.
I currently live in an area of the world where its still highly plausible for people to act in the extreme without knowing all of the facts, without researching, without asking questions. I said before that I take comfort in the fact I am not a natural citizen of this part of the world but only a grateful guest that uses my UD experience to see all sides of things here and learn as much as I can before presenting 'opinions'.
It is a good play and it does deserve a platform. I say again that I think UD is a safe place for this to be presented because it will be met with individuals who are faithful or at least respectful of the faithful, and engage in an honest, sincere dialogue in order to determine the merit of the play, particularly within the walls of this University.
If it cannot be done at UD, on whatever grounds they determine (aside from the student handbook thing.....they have to come up with something better than the protocol breach); then perhaps the students can present it somewhere else that does not include the school; or school endorsement. Its just a play presented by young actors and whoever from the University goes to see it, goes to see it. Maybe it doesn't have a Facebook page announcement...I don't know.
I do know that life is made up of many compromises....as an artist and arts administrator, I can attest to that. I don't know if those are fair compromises or ones that can or should even be entertained. Some people on the side of the play will say its a white flag...'Selena shut up!'; some people on the side of the cancellation will say it should never be presented ANYWHERE EVER; and people closer to the divide will wait for the predominant popular opinion. I want it presented at the University; I think as a community of faithful, intelligent student, faculty and staff, it can have its place without destroying the University's standing and be received in a respectful spirit of learning and understanding...Veritatem, Justitiam Diligite. I have faith in that.
As I was writing this, the ArtsJournal Daily newsletter hit my email inbox and this was one of the featured articles:
As well, the Wall Street Journal posted this yesterday:
Villanova has to find its own opponents and proponents for their cancellation but these articles as well as the events at UD over this play beg interesting questions I am going to encourage others to ask....I have plenty but no time:)