As we spend the day packing up to leave bright and early tomorrow morning for Salt Lake City, it's hard not to get ahead of ourselves. It is weird to really think about leaving Sheridan and Wyoming, especially for me. I consider myself extremely lucky to have been able to share my home with these wonderful people from all over the country and likewise to share these talented and intelligent people with my community. Our last performance and audience discussion is tonight. I want to savor it, but we've got to plan ahead at the same time.
For right now, though, I want to take the time to thank Sheridan. This community has supported us, challenged us, laughed with us and talked with us. That is all we could ever ask for.
I thought I would also insert the letter to the editor that I wrote to The Sheridan Press, which was not published in time for our performances this weekend.
Our world is full of divisions. We distinguish “us” from “them” by country borders, languages, dialects, beliefs and skin tone. It is easy to simplify the “other” and to fear their unpredictably evil acts by virtue of misunderstanding. I have been derided at times for implying that those we refer to as terrorists should be talked to, rather than shot at. I have been told I am naïve not to dismiss someone of a certain skin color and religious belief as animals or otherwise unalterably scary things. I understand why people fall into the habit of hating the unknown. It is so much easier.
Imagine the feat of empathy, of recognizing humanity. For really, there is no “other” that is not also a part of the much larger “we.”
I write to you and to the city of Sheridan to invite you to overcome terror and personal fear, to talk about what might make you angry, to laugh and to listen. This Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 pm at the Carriage House Theater, No Fog West Theater Company will present “Talking to Terrorists,” a play by Robin Soans.
Our goal in producing this play has been to challenge ourselves as well as our audiences in our preconceptions and our emotions. We hope you will join us this weekend with open minds and open hearts.
There is a lot to be said.