This March Marymount Manhattan College hosted a collaborative educational experience called “Riding the Arc of History”, based on my life experiences of being a gay son of Holocaust Survivors who became a German citizen. I created a humorous multi-media storytelling performance to encourage Social Justice while teaching history.
Instead of just lecturing at Daphnie Sicre’s theater class, the students’ curriculum included producing an actual show around my life. It gave them the opportunity to work on the filming, editing, graphics, lighting, etc. while I got the chance to “come out” as an entertainer in a warm and safe environment.
With images of my life floating behind me, I explained what it was like growing up with a German-Jewish culture right after World War II. Segregation and discrimination were still the law of the land in America, not only for African-Americans, but for Jews, Catholics, Asians and LGBT people as well.
One must remember that it was legal to exclude Jews from employment, resorts, housing and universities based on religion, and that being gay was criminal in all states when I was born. Growing up as a gay Jew during this time gave me quite a unique perspective on social justice.
The performance was humorous at times so the audience could hear and cope with some very difficult subjects. In the future, the show will be tailored for 3 audiences; namely a mostly Jewish one, a mostly LGBT one, and a general performance. It is a cross between story-telling and stand-up comedy with a hint of a lecture. Through my life stories the audience leaves knowing more about the Civil Rights era, and is encouraged to continue the fight for equality and justice.
You can follow this performance by visiting www.infotrue.com and finding the link to the shows under Educational Experiences.