This post contains an action item specifically for the cast and team of GREATER GOOD.
As the script and design concept go through revisions, Steve, Kirsten, and Ilana are inviting folx to participate in an ad hoc design visioning brainstorm.
Read and think about the prompt below. Then, share your brainstorm with us by using the CONTACT page (found on the upper menu bar of this site).
What is covered up? Behind the walls of Gleason Street School, under the floorboards, in and below the foundation of the building, is a festering history of oppression in America. It’s a goop, a guck, a living organic substance. It is a psychological manifestation of the oblivious ego of white privilege. It seeps out of the cracks. It can’t be contained. The substance holds objects — perhaps books, the pillars of the White House, broken pieces from the House of Slaves from Goree Island, for example. We want to make a brainstorm list of what other things are in this substance. All ideas are welcome.
Mount Vesuvius, the Italian volcano formed by the collision of the African and Eurasian tectonic plates, is invoked by both Michael and Christine as a powerful metaphor. Often, in myth and art, Vesuvius stands in for sudden, unexpected, and violent explosions. It’s the volcano that erupted in Ancient Rome and buried the city of Pompeii and all its inhabitants, with barely a warning. When it last erupted in the 1940s, it spewed ash to such an extent that the gas and ash cloud covered the whole of southern Europe. It’s considered one of the world’s most dangerous volcanoes, and the force of its eruptions has been estimated to release a hundred thousand times the thermal energy of WWII’s Hiroshima-Nagasaki bombings.
The two Vesuvius references in the play are as follows. Both instances connect to Black children, and in particular Black boys, being silenced …then finding their voices.
Michael, in the scene “Toussaint is a Whisper”:
Whatever your head filled up with was meant to be spat back out. While you sat in your space at that desk. A lot of the time. In third grade. Ms. Watson. Third grade. My head just got too full. Too much would come spilling. Oh my God it would come spilling out. Vesuvius. Sparks, sparks, sparks. But Ms. Watson. Was having none of it. I was sent to the Principal. The nurse. The counselor.
Christine, in the scene “Athena/Reel 3”:
Okay, okay, okay. You know what it is. You know what it is. You want to know what it is. I do believe in volcanoes. I do believe in Vesuvius. You know what I do not believe in? Soccer. Basketball. Motherfucking football. If one more person brings a uniform around my kid I swear to God. You know what it is. That is not I want.