Inspiring "Chang(e)"
Entertainment

Inspiring "Chang(e)"

Soomi Kim and Suzi Takahashi revive the voice of Kathy Change in their devised docudrama at HERE Arts Center.

10
HERE Arts Center

In a 1996 address to students at the University of Pennsylvania, Kathy Change wrote: “I want to free my spirit so that it can jump inside of you.” In their devised play “Chang(e),” artistic collaborators Soomi Kim and Suzi Takahashi attempt to bring back Kathy’s voice in order to explore her idea of truth and what that may inspire today. Born Kathleen Chang, the late radical activist and performance artist fearlessly advocated for world peace and against the government. She situated herself on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania for years, calling out to students whom she believed to be the next generation of leaders to initiate revolution.

The audience entered the world of Kathy Change through blue streamers. From the ceiling of the small blackbox theatre hung an eclectic collection of lights, strings, disco balls, and paper lanterns. The stage, just slightly below the risers that surrounded it, was marked by an enormous black peace sign. Using elements of music, dance, film in combination with traditional elements of documentary theater such as interviews with and writings of Change, a cast of seven actors guided an audience through her life and her mind in a piece that was part docudrama and part dream reality.

The show did not attempt to create a biography of Change. The majority of the play’s characters were fictionalized, and the “real events” slipped into imagined dream sequences. It was an appropriate method with which to portray Kathy’s life, given that her own goals stemmed from real world problems but looked toward utopian solutions.

The show's greatest successes were the questions that it generated. Though no single event stands out as the conflict, Kathy’s struggle is her fight to be heard. We see Kathy being passed by in the rain, mocked by students, shunned by other artists, and rejected by publications. The fact of her audience’s neglect leading up to her 1996 self-immolation raises questions of the aims and achievements of radical activists. If no one is listening, what are they accomplishing and how do they persist?

It’s all too easy to dismiss the words of radicals, to call them crazy, to ignore their cries. Perhaps it’s true that their ideas aren’t practical, perhaps they are at times hard to understand. But if radical approaches are not the answer, neither are passive alternatives. Is there a single point on the spectrum, an exact formula, or a correct way to be an activist?

As the rising generation, we all like to call ourselves activists, searching for our places in various movements somewhere between hashtags and peaceful protests. We know that we want change and are quick to identify problems and condemn them. Sometimes we even propose solutions, but this is the hard part. Listening to Soomi Kim recite Kathy’s speeches on stage, I could feel her passion and understand her frustrations with the world. But the thought kept running through my mind: What exactly is it that she wants? It’s harder to picture the future than look at the present, it’s difficult to mark progress when the goal is out of sight.

“Chang(e)” concluded its run at HERE Arts Center on Nov. 22nd, having revived the voice of an artist and provoked the audience to reconsider their relationships to reform.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Lifestyle

These 11 Face Masks On Etsy Support Small Businesses While Fighting The Spread Of Coronavirus

We're staying safe as states start lifting lockdown guidelines.

I, like most people who have had the luxury of being able to stay at home during this time, haven't spent much time outdoors at all. But when I do brave the great outdoors for a walk or to get to the grocery store, you won't find me without a mask.

My family and I were lucky enough to have family friends who were sewing some and had extras to give to us, but most of my friends and loved ones outside my immediate family have had to order some (or make a makeshift one out of scarves or bandanas).

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

13 Reasons We're Using Quarantine As The Ultimate Excuse For Online Shopping This Month

The one thing we haven't distanced from is our bank account.

Throughout quarantine, I've been FaceTiming most of my friends in a full turtleneck or the go-to cozy sweater I keep wrapped around the chair in my room. Either way, I always have tea in my hands to keep myself warm — till this past week.

For most of the country who hasn't had the luck of quarantining in 90-degree weather on their family's lake house or with a backyard pool, things began to change this month. Our favorite shows came out with summer seasons, the sun came out, and we started spending more time outside.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

I Sat Down (Virtually) With Morgan Wooten To Talk About Coronavirus's Impact On The Wellness Industry

Just because coronavirus has greatly impacted the wellness industry doesn't mean wellness stops.

Morgan Wooten

If you're anything like me, your weekly fitness classes are a huge part of your routine. They keep me fit, healthy, and sane. Honestly, these classes help my mental health stay in tip-top shape just as much as they help my physical health.

Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, gyms and fitness studios are facing temporary closure. Yes, this means my personal routine is thrown a curveball, but this also means the wellness industry is one of many that is looking at unemployment and hardship. Do I miss my Monday spin class? Of course. But do the wellness professionals whose worlds were flipped upside down have a lot more to overcome than a slight change of routine? Absolutely. Thankfully, if anyone can prove the ultimate flexibility, it's the wellness industry.

Keep Reading... Show less
HBO Max

If you are a normal person who spends most of their time streaming TV shows, you'll know that "Friends" was taken off Netflix early in 2020. Given that a global pandemic followed shortly after, many diehard fans of the show stuck in quarantine have been experiencing significant Central Perk withdrawal.

Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

How To Interview A Class Of 2020 Graduate

What they've been through is truly unprecedented.

Odyssey

No matter how you want to spin it, the Class of 2020 will be the first class graduating amidst a global pandemic.

Keep Reading... Show less
Netflix

By now, it is safe to declare "Outer Banks" on Netflix as THE TV Show of quarantine.

"Tiger King" got out to an early lead, but since, the Pogues and the Kooks have owned pop culture conversations while everyone has been couped up this spring amidst a global pandemic. And if you are one of the very few people out there in the world that has not heard about "Outer Banks" and or haven't binged it yet, well...

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

I Spoke To A California ER Doctor About COVID-19, And Y'all, Our Healthcare Workers Know What's Up

In light of what's going on in the world, it's time to get some front-line perspective.

It seems like the only thing I do these days is scroll through social media in a desperate attempt to gain information. My phone has called me out on my screen time more than once, and I just continue to ignore it. You're probably in the same boat — stuck at home, scrolling deeper and deeper into a hole of conspiracy theories and possible "back to normalcy" dates, hungry for information.

While we know that the news is not our mental health's friend these days, getting reliable information is helpful and necessary.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments