The Playwrights’ Center Community Think Tank Notes – Group 1 by kristinmarting
July 21, 2011, 8:27 pm
Filed under: American Dream, Community, Events, Research, Uncategorized

We recently returned from a week long retreat at The Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  We were able to do a lot of productive work on our script in preparation for the upcoming production, which premieres on September 11th at HERE!  A special thanks to everyone at The Playwrights’ Center and to the wonderful group of actors that worked with us over the week.

We will be posting notes from the Community Think Tank that we held as part of the workshop on July 16th over the next few days.  Stay tuned!

The Playwrights’ Center Workshop: Community Think Tank Notes – Group 1

-What is success?
-The possibiltity of fame/fortune vs. the immigrant reality
-Adressing the relationship between class + Hope/Options/Possibility
-Going from: nobody to somebody; poor to rich; zero to hero—“You can be
anyone you want to be.”

-Old ideas of the American dream—we’re such an evolutionary country that the
contexts change each year. (i.e. 2 years ago)

-Generations shift away rom traditional ideas of success—is it job consistency, is
it making a home and a family? – to a place of being able to self define and be

-Gender and balancing all of the parts of your life—again, generationally is shere
it shifted

-Also, geographics play into it hugely—that 50’s tradition still plays hugely around
the country

-Aprons are cool and baking is cool—so are we starting the cupcake shop AND
having kids? BOTH.

-Working class kids having hopes or fantacies vs. dreams that you believe you
can implement

-If you’re an immigrant—if I could just get to America I could get a job, live safely,
put food on the table—achieve independence

-Current 20’s folks not understaning that work is a privledge vs a morbid
responsibility. Our parents generation was about one job for 40 years and
pension—now it’s about mobility every few years.

-Can someone else define your dream? Is a dream about what’s possible?

-Hope and opportunity are different than dreams. “I know what my opportunities
are that I can settle for, but then the dream seems absolutely unreachable.” AND
if you then have to crush that dream, what takes its place?

-There is no longer a collective American dream.
50% African American men will be incarcerated

-In a country where you actually can achieve insane levels of wealth and/or fame
and/or success…. And where do morality and ethics fit into all that.

-If you’re born here and working class (urban or rural) then perhaps the dream is
fame and fortune… different from the immigrant reality

-Our parents dreams for us are also about being/doing better than when they
came over

-i.e. Doctors today don’t at all have the wealth or prestige that they use to

-Reality TV as rags to riches or fat to skinny—and that’s the American dream
being most persuasively broadcast around the world

-Our immigrant dreams sometimes being a glut of possibility and it can be

-Current generations are accepting they won’t/don’t have the real chance to be
as financially successful as the generation before. So quality of living becomes
much less important

-Relationship to higher education has changed so dramatically because no one
can afford it

-“I’m the first one in my family to have ever gone to college”—mentality is still
about work, manual labor, etc

-Learning or happiness as an upper class privilege. Just bad math to spend or
waste time or money when you could just work.


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