2009 Festival:  Peaceful Conflict Resolution

Keeping the Balance:  Peace of Mind Plays

The Center of the World Festival is an all age’s amateur Playwrighting competition for community Readers Theater. It is a two night two day experiential event celebrating "every person” public participation in the arts.

2009 Festival was held August 14th through August 16th 2009. The venue location was Pine Mountain Club (PMC), Kern County, California

PMC is a private community near the historic spiritual site of Mount Pinos. This highest peak in the Los Padres National Forest was worshipped by the Chumash people as the center of the world (Liyikshup), "the point where everything is in balance".

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Conflict Resolution Theme Rules:

 

The play theme must adhere to peaceful conflict resolution topics.  Can you see beyond the violence in the media, on television, and in movies--violence which we have accepted as "entertainment"?   Does all drama need to involve the hero/villain dualism which continues to pit one human against another?  Please show us that drama can be interesting and exciting without resorting to trauma and violence as the vehicle for the conflict resolution.

 

Can your play contribute to an answer to any of these questions:

**How can we facilitate justice and peace in our community, our nation, our world?

**What is the new vision, a new approach, to resolving the conflicts and misunderstandings which arise in any family, job, community, or nation?

**Is conflict "normal" and a "part of life" to which we just have to resign ourselves and let "people in power" handle for us?

**Does "everyperson" have any power to change the negative social direction towards which the fear and violence perpetrating political systems are taking us?

 

Your play may be an imaginative journey into peace. Or, it may be based upon real-life experiences. Or, it may be a combination of both. Suggestions: The swapping of tales with colleagues--the journeys of your own life--interviews held with others--all represent the dramatic scenes through which the "everyperson" innate knowledge of peace is revealed to us "on the spot" as the way to act/react.

 

We believe that social CHANGE is possible.  We believe that theatre plays a powerful role in this change, providing a meeting ground for exploring alternative solutions.  Story-telling is mankind's oldest format for social education.  Through the sharing of stories, which facilitate community dialogue, we build understanding and inspire social change.

 

And don't forget--there is pleasure (and even comedy) in opposing and ending injustice--we are not martyrs or saints!  Break the stereotypes about peace-making and cooperative living!  These have become ritualized and ineffective.  Stay away from the bad images or worn-out images!  Peace is not merely the absence of war, not something passive or without action.  Peace is a process of progress, of justice, and mutual respect among people.  Peace is defined continually when we interact in ways which bring us closer in understanding and acceptance, not merely tolerance.  Peace is dynamic and does not come about on its own.

 

We are not seeking religious approaches to this social problem.  We do not wish to see a "rehashing" of the peer-conflict resolution "role-play skits" promoted in the public school setting.  Nor is this a quest for "enlightenment" of the population.  Give us real problems and real solutions--an "everyperson" approach to peace and harmony.

 

In life, there is not always an immediate solution to a situation.  So, in your play, the solution may not be realized.  But the process of thinking, of criticizing, observing, and trying to find solutions will help in ending the paralysis of fatalism, that we cannot do anything to change the violence in our world.  Your play should contribute to changing the audience member from being a mere spectator to someone who awakens and questions:  Is it good or not, do I agree or not.  And most importantly, causes the observer to say:  Yes, I CAN do that!

 

We believe that equality and inclusion are necessary for confronting and resolving the violence which surrounds us and is threatening to destroy our world.  Thus, this playwrighting competition is for all amateurs, of all ages, to contribute their vision for a peaceful civilization.  It is not a competition of "best construction" or conventional play presentation.  Abstract and experimental formats are welcomed as a way to express peacemaking values.

 

Remember, AMATEUR is the operative description of this playwright competition.  We define AMATEUR in its positive Latin and French roots, meaning:  "to love; a lover".  We see you, the AMATEUR, as a devoted friend, an enthusiastic pursuer of an objective, and one who is motived to work as a result of love and passion.  And further, in the meaning of Ralph Waldo Emerson, as one who performs for pleasure rather than money:  "Every artist is first an amateur."









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