Past Arts + Culture Seasons
A Season of Life + Death | 2019 – 2020
“In the Jewish Culture, when someone is grieving, we let them speak first. We let them drive the conversation.”
These words by former Executive Director, Rabbi Shira Koch Epstein, were words of comfort and preparation after the unexpected and personal loss of my father. In her tenure at the 14th Street Y, Rabbi Shira provided insurmountable support for the community and her lasting impression will be a driving force for our values at the 14th Street Y for years to come.
The Arts + Culture + LABA Team would like to dedicate our 2019/2020 Season of Life + Death to Rabbi Shira Koch Epstein as she continues to inspire the world on an international level.
As we see in the 2019/2020 Season, different cultures honor and celebrate the life cycle in many ways. Our diverse artists wrestle with how we can learn from the traditions of previous generations and pay tribute through living life to its fullest. While at times the pieces we read made me suddenly remember my own grief, it was a refreshing discovery that our artists are drawn to tales of survival and remembrance to explore the theme. There is humor in the life cycle as well as joy and courage.
We have productions about surviving cancer, recovering from drug addiction, a son learning about his father’s battle with AIDS, a darkly humored ghost story from the Bronx, and a rich and lyrical play about love and loss from acclaimed playwright/director José Rivera. Join us as we explore these themes with innovative new works of theater, dance and opera. We’ll see you in the Theater.
—David Stallings, Director of Arts + Culture2019 – 2020 Brochure
A Season of War & Peace | 2018 – 2019
After a year of studying Jewish texts on War & Peace, the LABA Fellows and the artistic team are questioning even more the idea of “holy war.” What do we fight for, what does freedom feel like and are our ideals even realistic? Ultimately, our battles are a series of compromises. But to what end? Even more crucial, we have begun questioning our self-imposed banners: “progressive,” “liberal,” “accepting.” What do these mean? Are we honestly listening to opposing viewpoints? Have we become as indoctrinated and radical as the ones we fear?
In choosing our 2018–19 Season, the Arts + Culture team wanted to further this line of questioning War & Peace on both the literal and more ambiguous ephemeral levels. We are presenting plays exploring a wide range of the divides we see in our social landscape. From Holocaust deniers to gay parents fighting stigmas and teachers fighting for freedom of speech in the classroom, these plays are sure to trigger conversation and a call to action.
Our year of study with LABA on Jewish texts of War & Peace now translates into a Season that shares our questions with you. Audiences will not be quiet observers, but hopefully inspired players as well.
—David Stallings, Associate Artistic Director2018 – 2019 Brochure