A trip to a coffee shop quickly turns Faiza’s day into one of fear, humiliation and abandonment. No doubt her race, faith and traditional dress played a factor. Nurse Mailynn has trouble finding support from her supervisor and co-workers after a patient refuses to be treated by her because of her race. Masego feels dismissed after sharing a frightening incident both she and her son experienced. How are things going to change for people who are racialized when her own partner and the police keep making excuses?
I Carry with Me, written by Heather Cherron von Atzigen, is a play that looks at the differences and commonalities in what we carry as human beings from different racial and cultural backgrounds. What we carry can hurt, show similarities, educate, be shared, and enlighten.
This play is designed to catalyze audiences to want to stand up, make changes in these stories, and discover actions they can take to foster inclusive and supportive spaces for people of all cultural backgrounds.
Content Note: This presentation depicts situations of racial tension and harassment.
I Carry with Me is a Forum Theatre play, meaning the first act of the play shows a “worst-case scenario” drawn from consultations with community members. After the play has run through once, you will be invited by a facilitator to intervene in the action. You can replace characters, suggest changes and try out your own strategies to result in a positive alternative ending.
This play is a unique Forum Theatre experience that will incorporate movement into the story-telling, offering multiple ways to understand the challenges and emotions of these women and communities at large who are impacted by racism.
“Freedom Off Our Backs”
“Freedom Off Our Backs” is an original song written and performed by playwright Heather Cherron von Atzigen to complement I Carry with Me.
MCT originally performed I Carry with Me over Zoom for audiences on June 9, 10, 14, and 16 at 7:30 PM (EST), and June 10 and 15 at 2:00 PM (EST), 2023. It was performed as a “Pay What You Can” event.
Script Development Process
To develop Forum Theatre scripts, MCT engages communities in workshop sessions to understand the current and pressing social issues facing those groups.
In these sessions, MCT artists lead the community through various games and exercises to understand the group’s experiences and perspective on the topics. From these workshop sessions, the MCT artists draw out a “universal story” of the oppressions facing all the groups, to use as the foundation of the script.
A “universal story” encapsulates aspects of each person’s stories, rather than any one individual’s experience.
In this project, MCT facilitated online workshop sessions in March and April with multiple groups to understand their lived experiences of race and privilege. From the ideas shared in all the sessions, MCT’s playwright, Heather Cherron von Atzigen, wrote the script for I Carry with Me.