With the passing of Studs Terkel and Clive Barnes, American has lost two very important voices. Terkel was the working man's champion in literature and Barnes was a very important New York theatre and dance critic. Both were chronicles of our history and our stories.
Few and fewer of us take the time to sit down and hear the stories of history. How did our parents meet? How did our grandparents get engaged? Who was our relative who first came to the United States and why? We are slowly loosing this part of our heritage and thus our identity.
Theatre is not going to be the savior to this; we are each responsible for our own identity. But it does give us a forum to come together and share ideas that will hopefully prompt us to be a little more inquisitive into our past.
NPR has been sponsoring a wonderful project called StoryCorps. This is a program that travels across the country allowing everyday Americans to interview each other and archives the stories in the Library of Congress. In fact the have deemed tomorrow a National Day of Listening so as you are together with family this Thanksgiving, really take the time to hear about your history and where you came from.
Garrison Keillor once said that "we are here to tell the stories of our parents." I think that is an excellent charge for us as artists. Get some new material this holiday season.