Updating the Compassion Plays

Kevin Blake in  Horizon Line

Kevin Blake in Horizon Line

Thanks to the generosity of the Herb Alpert Foundation, the Helen and Malcolm Atterbury Foundation and 161 individual donors, we will soon offer new versions of Horizon Line and Wheels , two of the plays in the Compassion Plays program.  Both plays were produced by Lori Nelson and written by Peter Howard.  Lori and Peter are working together again on the new versions.

 The Compassion Plays program was designed to prompt productive, respectful conversations about some of today’s most challenging topics – racial bias, attitudes about immigrants and hate crimes.  When developing a new script, we begin by imagining the discussion we want to have.  Then we work backwards – how can we create a play that will spark that type of discussion?  

 For Wheels, the goal was always to provoke thoughtful discussion about immigration and the changing attitudes about immigrants. The new version will include the most recent developments in immigration policy and the impact on our communities. Research and interviews will continue through June.

 Horizon Line has helped thousands of participants talk about the seeds of prejudice, the impact of racism and antisemitism and the powerful influences that lead a young man to commit a hate crime.  The new version of the play will continue to spark the same type of conversations but with an additional focus on the current rise of white nationalist hate groups in the U.S.

 The research for Horizon Line began in 2018 and included extensive interviews with experts in hate crimes and with agencies that monitor white supremacist activity in the U.S.    The playwright and our staff conducted additional research while continuing to discuss the play and the possible revisions to the script.

Frankie Garcés in  Wheels

Frankie Garcés in Wheels

Kevin Blake has been selected to direct the new version of Horizon Line.  Kevin is the extraordinary actor who was cast in the original version.  He has continued to keep audiences enthralled with his performance of Danny Curtis and the other eight characters in Horizon Line for more than a decade.   Kevin says “directing the updated version is so fulfilling because I know that this program is more important and relevant than ever.  The issues in the play, in particular white identity and racial pride, are affecting our communities, making it vital for all of us to come together and talk about them. The updates reflect just how complex and dangerous these issues are as they evolve through technology and rhetoric.”

 The new version of Horizon Line will be completed soon and a full tour will be launched in the coming months. (If you would like to be invited to a preview show, please sign up below).  If you would like to book the Compassion Plays program for your school, workplace or organization, contact Lisa Blake at lisablake@westernjustice.org.

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Sign up to be invited to special preview shows of Wheels and Horizon Line.