October 18, 2019
The Attainment, Fulfillment, and Resilience in Sports and Society series focused on how superstar culture in the U.S. seduces and fails young people from challenged backgrounds and struggling communities, while diverting attention and urgency from systemic obstacles and problems. Defining success in terms of a few superstar examples of success – be it in sports or in academic attainment - covers up deep-rooted problems in these settings and promotes an all or nothing, high risk attitude toward life choices.
The conversation focused on policy and societal themes implicit in two forthcoming productions: Shakespeare Theater Company’s production of Everybody by MacArthur Fellow Branden Jacobs-Jenkins and Ford’s Theatre production of August Wilson’s Fences. The conversation addressed how society privileges superstar attainment over self-actualization and how that ethic hinders efforts to create a more equitable and more fulfilled nation.
The plays that informed this Salon - Fences and Everybody - provided insights into how individuals from a variety of backgrounds and generations have sought meaning and fulfillment in their lives. Both plays looked at the impacts of those choices, both on the self and on others. Panelists addressed what audience members could do to contribute to building resilience and purpose in the face of skewed societal expectations and economic challenges.
Please note that this event may have been filmed and/or photographed.
Michael Feldman provides strategic and engagement advice to local and international arts organizations. Based in Washington, D.C., he also serves as a board member of the Alliance for a New Music Theatre, an arts partner of the Czech Embassy for theirMutual Inspirations Festival. Michael is a former cultural attaché and diplomat whose experience bridges the arts, development, and public policy worlds. Michael was a director at PEPFAR, the President’s Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief; a director for Europe and Central Asia at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative; and professional staff of the Budget Committee of the U.S. Senateas part of a fellowship with the American Political Science Association. At the US State Department, Michael served in Europe and Central Africa; he oversaw assistance for the Balkans; and he negotiated policy with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development(OECD), the G-7/8 process, and the European Union. Michael graduated from Wesleyan University with a B.A. in Economics and speaks German, Czech, French and Italian.
April Lawson is the Associate Director of Weave: The Social Fabric Project at The Aspen Institute. She is also the designer and Director of Better Angels Debates, which uses parliamentary style to produce illuminating conversations across political perspectives. Previously, she worked with David Brooks and Ross Douthat at The New York Times. Her own research focuses on morality, feminism, and America’s current fragmentation in politics and culture. She is a Claremont Institute Lincoln Fellow. She has also worked at the U.S. Treasury Department, Booz Allen Hamilton, and the New Haven Mayor’s Office. She grew up in Kansas, earned a B.A. in anthropology at Yale University, and now lives in Washington, D.C. with her dog June.
Drew Lichtenberg is Literary Manager and Resident Dramaturg at the Shakespeare Theatre Company and adjunct faculty at Catholic University and The New School. Drew has worked as a dramaturg from Broadway to London's South Bank, and with regional theaters in the Midatlantic (Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Baltimore Center Stage) as well as around the U.S. At the Shakespeare Theatre Company, Drew has dramaturged 45 productions over 9 seasons. His writing has appeared in Theater, Theatre Journal, Text & Presentation, and Contemporary Theatre Review. He holds a doctorate in fine arts from Yale School of Drama.
Professor Pamela “P. S.” Perkins is an alumnus of UNC-Chapel Hill and holds a Masters degree in Communication Studies (MCC) from New York University. Through her genius of “Word Power” and program innovation, she has developed the trademark Communication Staircase Model. P.S. is the author of the highly acclaimed business self-help book, The Art and Science of Communication: Tools for Effective Communication in the Workplace, John Wiley Publishers. P.S has a broad background as a performing artist, including theater, dance, storytelling and music. She is currently Founder and CEO of the Human Communication Institute and teaches Human Communication and the Communication Arts for the University of the District of Columbia and Prince George’s Community College.
The NYU Washington, DC Salon Series: Conversations with Writers & Artists presents an opportunity for the NYU and Washington, DC community to meet and engage in dialogue with acclaimed writers and artists as they reflect on their craft. This program provides facilitated conversations that aim to illuminate the guests’ creative processes, discuss their current works, and explain the impact of their work on the world around us. The Salon Series is made possible by NYU Washington, DC through the collaboration of NYU schools, departments and centers, as well as through special relationships with selected external organizations.