BOOTSTRAPS: An American Fable

You have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Ready? Set. Go!

IN AUGUST 2017, BOOTSTRAPS: An American Fable toured Vermont, Massachusetts and North Carolina, with performances at the Art Monastery, the Springfield Community PlayersEarthdance, Living Arts CollectiveThe Eco-Institute at Pickards Mountain, and the Culture Mill.

January 2018, BOOTSTRAPS went to NYC with a weekend of workshops and performances at the 14th Street Y

If you would like to host a BOOTSTRAPS performance at your venue please contact info@ArtMonastery.org

Acrobatic, slapstick and sung, two Americans battle their way across a cardboard landscape in search of The Dream. Did we mention they are white, middle class, and kinda unaware? Featuring raw, powerhouse performances from Kaitlin June and Raphael Sacks in the roles they were born to play, and directed by Shawn Shafner, award-winning taboo-breaker. BOOTSTRAPS challenges audiences to question how we otherize our neighbors, how success is constructed and the role white people can play in perpetuating and dismantling systems of oppression. Are you ready to play outside the box?

Combining Dance Theater and Community Organizing, BOOTSTRAPS catalyzes dialog about how we otherize our neighbors, how success is constructed, and the role white people can play in perpetuating and dismantling systems of oppression. The evening flows from performance into participatory workshop, as audience joins the cast and creative team in asking, “What do we do now?”

Click here for some RESOURCES and NEXT STEPS in the Social Justice Activism behind our show.

NOTE: All are invited to the show and workshop, AND this is a conversation about Whiteness and the Middle Class Safety Net, primarily for and among White Middle Class folks. Especially in the workshop, we are focusing our attention on hosting space for white people to work through their experience of race in America. While this may seem counterintuitive, we take our guidance here from Malcolm X:

“I tell sincere white people, ‘Work in conjunction with us- each of us working among our own kind.’ Let sincere white individuals find all other white people they can who feel as they do- and let them form their own all-white groups, to work trying to convert other white people who are thinking and acting so racist. Let sincere whites go and teach non-violence to white people! … Working separately, the sincere white people and sincere black people actually will be working together. In our mutual sincerity we might be able to show a road to the salvation of America’s very soul.
Autobiography of Malcolm X, written by Malcolm X as told to Alex Haley, 1965)

Wanna know more about this choice to focus the conversation on whiteness and white communities, when the big goal is actually inclusion and diversity? There are lots of resources out there. Two that have inspired us come from Constructive White Conversations (www.constructivewhiteconversations.org/) and Racial Equity Tools (www.racialequitytools.org/resourcefiles/whiteaffinitygroup.pdf).

 

WHAT AUDIENCES ARE SAYING

 

BOOTSTRAPS pulled me along with its characters, silently hoping they would do
the right thing, all the while feeling there was no right thing to be done.
– Jay O-Berski, Little Green Pig Theater

It was a pleasure and an inspiration to have BOOTSTRAPS at the 14th Street Y
— Ronit Muszkatblit, Artistic Director, 14 Street Y

A provocative and engaging blend of humor, distilled physical storytelling and deep, painful questioning.
— Massachusetts audience

White fragility is about blindness and refusing to release that comfort. This performance allows us to identify and recognize our complicity. Thank you- it’s time to call systemic racism OUT!
— Vermont audience

My heart is very open. I don’t want to admit that I am one of those people on the stage, taking baby steps, and looking up at a towering ceiling. But under my skin, vulnerable and sincere, I saw myself.”
— Massachusetts audience

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