How Sondheim’s ‘Assassins’ fuels my passion for social justice
You might not think a show about Presidential assassins would inspire activism for social justice and the greater good, but Stephen Sondheim’s Assassins has done exactly that for me.
This musical masterpiece is not an endorsement of assassination, not by a long shot. Instead, it’s an investigation into what might have motivated nine Americans to feel like the only choice they had in life was to try and kill a President.
I first played the role of Sara Jane Moore, would-be assassin of President Gerald Ford, in 2010. At the time, I was concerned about the anger and anti-government sentiment raging across our country. And after the production was over, I found myself more determined than ever to work toward productive solutions that would help put the American Dream within the grasp of more of our citizens.
I’m playing that role a second time, against the backdrop of a time in our history when the vitriol and violence of humanity feel closer to the surface than ever. If we are to stem this tide of discord, we must engage in collective action to take better care of each other, so that no one feels so disenfranchised, downtrodden or desperate that they’re pushed to such extremes.
My commitment to making a positive difference in this country is even stronger now, and it’s my sincere hope that a day will come when Americans no longer feel inclined to choose violence over constructive action.
I have more to say about Assassins, which you can read in my post at Eclectablog.
[Photo credit: Bryan Clifford, courtesy of Avon Players.]