CIVILIZED SAVAGES

The RWTG presented a workshop titled, Civilized Savages: Using Theater and Group Process to Illuminate Dynamics of Conflict at the 35th Annual International Conference of the Self on October 18, 2012 in Washington, D.C.

Our workshop was designed to explore the conference-related question: How do we reconcile our desire for self-autonomy with the sense of embedded-ness in a relational world? Our format featured a dramatic reading of the play God of Carnage by Yasmina Reza, followed by an audience discussion.

God of Carnage is a dark comedy about two families struggling to balance self-interest and family loyalties with concern-for-the-other. The play dramatizes a meeting between two sets of parents, Michael and Veronica Novak, and Annette and Alan Raleigh. They have come together to address an act of violence that has occurred between their eleven-year-old sons earlier in the week. The Raleigh’s son Benjamin hit the Novak’s son Henry, with a stick, breaking two of his teeth. The parents of the two boys search for a mutually agreeable way to resolve the situation.

A post-performance debriefing allowed the actors an opportunity to reflect on their subjective experience of self-as-actor-in-character. A moderated audience discussion followed, exploring the play’s central themes of civility and savagery within and between committed couples, the intergenerational transmission of values to offspring and the search for authentic encounters in contemporary societies.

The reading featured Mary and John Dluhy as Veronica and Michael Novak and Liz Marsh and Rob Williams as Annette and Alan Raleigh. Molly Donovan was the workshop discussion facilitator. Bob Schulte directed the reading. Also in attendance were RWTG colleagues Kavita Avula, Maryetta Andrews-Sachs and Yavar Moghimi.

This workshop completed the 2012 season of RWTG performances of God of Carnage. RWTG performed the play at the AGPA Annual Meeting in New York, the Division 39 Annual Meeting in Santa Fe, the International Group Psychotherapy and Group Process Conference in Cartagena, Columbia and the Annual International Conference of the Self in Washington, D.C.

Thanks to all the RWTG members and guest artists for their contributions of time, talent and collaboration during the 2012 season.

Our 2013 season begins with an Open Session at the AGPA 2013 Annual Meeting in New Orleans. We will present the play Becky Shaw by Gina Gionfriddo. The acting ensemble includes Kavita Avula, Liz Marsh, Yavar Moghimi, Rosemary Segalla and Rob Williams. John Dluhy and Bob Schulte will co-direct the reading. Mary Dluhy and Molly Donovan will facilitate the actor debriefing and audience discussion.