August 30, 2007
Because of overwhelming public response, all seats have been reserved. However, the public is encouraged to go to the theatre box office an hour early to get on a waiting list.
The performances are at 8 p.m. Sept. 6-8 and at 2 p.m. Sept. 8.
DALLAS (SMU) — A human rights education trip to Africa by SMU students, faculty and others has led to the Dallas premiere of a theatrical performance dramatizing one of the world’s worst examples of human rights violations – apartheid in South Africa.
A graffiti wall filled with notes of forgiveness and compassion is one aspect of the Truth in Translation Project – bringing together individuals from all backgrounds and religious affiliations to share in the production’s powerful experience is another.
“Our mission at Meadows is to produce artists who want to change the world and to make art that matters,” said Jose Bowen, dean of SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts. “Truth in Translation is a fantastic example of art and artists making a difference. It is a wonderful opportunity for Dallas, our students and for Meadows to host this work.”
See a sample of Truth in Translation
Truth in Translation: Forgiving the past to survive the future, sponsored by the Embrey Family Foundation, will make its U.S. premiere Sept. 6-8 in SMU’s Bob Hope Theatre.
Lauren Embrey, president of the Embrey Family Foundation, was moved to bring the production to Dallas after seeing a performance in Kigali, Rwanda on a human rights trip led by Rick Halperin, director of SMU’s Human Rights Education Program, made possible through a donation from the Embrey Family Foundation. The 10-day summer 2006 trip exposed participants to various human rights issues, that have been occurring for decades.
“This production is about much more than theater – it contains educational aspects that deal with human rights, world history and reconciliation,” said Embrey. “I felt strongly about having the production at SMU because I wanted to reach out to the community from an educational setting, I wanted to show how arts and education work together, and illustrate its transformative power.”
The performances, told through both words and music, will deliver a message of diversity and inclusiveness as a dramatization of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) work in South Africa, where translators relayed in the 11 African languages the testimony of the genocide perpetrators, the victims, the translators’ and community’s experiences, and ultimately, the healing that results from the truth.
“The Truth in Translation Project focuses on reconciliation, forgiveness and healing,” said Halperin, also the chair of Amnesty International USA. “This is a unique way to communicate the fundamental principles of human rights.”
With the ultimate goal of bringing people together, organizers hope the eclectic mix of Truth in Translation audiences will inspire communication. “We have worked diligently with many organizations and agencies in Dallas to ensure that this event reaches diverse communities in our city,” Embrey said. “The idea is to get people out of their comfort zones – including me.”
Cheyenne, a junior majoring in public policy, went to South Africa this summer with 15 others to explore the landmarks and events of apartheid. Read her blog about the experience.
Following each performance, audience members will be asked to record their thoughts on a graffiti wall or through digital recordings. These messages will travel with the production to its other stops in the U.S.
“At Meadows, we believe the special gifts of an artist come with special responsibilities,” Bowen said. “This is a wonderful example of how artists can inspire change and make a difference by imagining new beginnings and new models.”