The development of a new play about American history is an opportunity to open a dialogue in the community about our shared values. How has history shaped our reality, and how can we, as citizens, help shape our history? The Realm of Whispering Ghosts: If Truman Met Einstein encourages people to talk…and to listen.
“A Conversation with Truman and Einstein” offered this opportunity on September 11, 2013 at the Swedish Cultural Center in Seattle. A facilitated discussion was led by attorney John Rapp and Professor Tayyab Mahmud (Director, Center for Global Justice, Seattle University). In attendance were audience members whose experience of the play inspired a desire for further conversation, some who had not yet seen the play but wanted to talk about how the American government arrives at important policy – and even a couple of people whose scientist parents had been involved in secret government work during the Second World War. President Truman and Professor Einstein participated in the discussion in the person of Mike King and Arne Zaslove (who had portrayed the characters in the staged readings of the play).
A student matinee of the production was fully booked by three independent high schools. As a follow-up, several members of the cast visited Seattle Preparatory Academy, to allow the students an opportunity to pose questions and explore the issues further: (See Bruce Ramsey's article in the Seattle Times.)
The idea for the play grew out of a project at the Bush School in Seattle:
Students of American history (of all ages) are an ideal audience for perspectives presented in the play, and we are committed to reaching out to any group interested in continuing the discussion. A group of cast members has also presented scenes from the play at a Seattle area retirement home, for an audience that in some cases actually lived the history presented in the play.
For further opportunities to continue the conversation, or to schedule a presentation for a community group, please contact Mike King at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo: Tim Mar