Four Short Plays: Four Big Ideas

This original work of theater, commissioned by Grantmakers in the Arts for the 58th Council on Foundations Conference, was presented at conference plenary sessions, Monday, April 30 and Tuesday, May 1, 2007. Directed by KJ Sanchez and written by KJ Sanchez, Emily Ackerman, Aysan Çelik, Darrick Clayton, Michael Place, and Amy Kim Waschke.

The arts have the power to speak to us in ways we do not expect and with insights not possible any other way. They can both capture our imaginations and be hard-working partners on the ground.

The themes of the 58th Council on Foundations Conference — poverty, the environment, world health, and disaster response — challenge us with problems needing solutions. The art of theater offers a different lens to examine our work and challenges us to imagine another place, a place where we can invent a future beyond the problem and its solution, a place where we can envision a world different from what we now see.

These four plays examine the human intersections of the four conference themes: the environment, poverty, world health, and disaster response. These works employed the power of art to provide focus, inspiration and engagement, and to create a spirit of community among conference participants.

The plays were developed from interviews conducted with foundation program officers, non-profit service providers, doctors, refugee camp nurses, Pentagon officials, scientists, migrant workers, New Orleans refugees, and a host of others. The voices and stories of Four Short Plays: Four Big Ideas are their voices.