Opening Right Stories

Alyssa Sileo

Student, playwright, and activist from Central and South Jersey

Something tells me returning to live theatre will feel like I’m picking up right where I left off, but with a lot less time to waste.

I love theatre for a similar reason that I strive to be a part of restorative and transformative justice. At the heart of every story is change and meaning. A theatrical work is a proof of concept for the truth that caterpillars turn into butterflies. Theatre is the foundation for the imaginative skills that are necessary in a chain of generations dedicated to justice and loving community.

While theatres were dark, I’ve been working on virtual projects as a Theatre Arts Major at Drew University in Madison. I’ve gotten to see three of my plays in Zoom-reading style over the last year, which I’ve discovered is a super effective way to get the gears going within the development process.
Still, I missed the laughter and energy within a physical reading room. I missed the in-between moments of making theatre—goofing around right before (and during) rehearsal, buzzing around with tech crew before curtain, and chatting/ celebrating with family and friends post-show.

As we all return, I am particularly looking forward to all the ways in which theatres have answered the call to become accessible and affirming spaces. There have been critical lessons that virtual theatre, as well as the work of arts makers and lovers with disabilities, have taught us about access-centered art. I am eager to contribute what I can to this communal lifework of dismantling the barriers to participating in the human right of artmaking.