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"Performing Peace" Cluster to Present Original Play

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Posted on Friday, October 28, 2011

Westminster College students in the "Performing Peace" cluster course will present an original play, #ENOUGH, Friday, Nov. 4, at 7:30 p.m. in Beeghly Theater.

The event is free and open to the public.  Donations will be accepted to support Women for Women International and the Enough Project.

The cluster includes the classes "Theatre and Social Engagement," taught by Dr. Scott Mackenzie, associate professor of theatre, and "Advanced Peace Studies Seminar," taught by Dr. Sherri Pataki, assistant professor of psychology.

Students learned about the conflict and violence against women in the Congo in Pataki's class, then, with direction from Mackenzie, shaped it into a collection of scenes, monologues, and movement pieces written by members of the class.  A "Twitter" theme runs throughout to tie the individual elements together.

"As a peace studies minor, taking this class was an obvious choice, but I didn't expect it to be so informative," said senior broadcast communications major Alyssa Hanna.  "I have learned so much about the conflict in the Congo and Africa as a whole.  It really opened my eyes to how each person can make a difference and has re-established my passion for peace studies."

"The Performing Peace cluster has been an eye-opening experience," said junior fine art major Anna Price.  "I have learned about the Congo's problems that I never would have heard of and I get to make a difference."

"I think this play will be an eye-opening performance to the Westminster [community]," said senior sociology major Anthony Morgan.  "I think it can cause a change on campus."

"I'm so excited to bring the stories from the Congo to life and affect change for the better," said junior biology major Nathaniel Kronenwetter.  "People need to know what is really happening in the Democratic Republic of the Congo."

"This show will help draw attention to the horrible crimes against humanity being committed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo," said sophomore psychology major Lyndsey Vogler.  "The proceeds will go directly to helping women affected by these atrocities."

This is the second time Mackenzie and Pataki have taught this cluster.  The previous class focused on the genocide in Darfur and raised over $100 to purchase solar cookers for Darfurian refugees.

"Learning about such horrific violence and suffering is always difficult, but the theatre performance gives students an opportunity to take action and help address these issues in a tangible way," Pataki said.  "This year we hope to raise not only awareness about the use of conflict minerals, but also to raise enough money to sponsor at least one Congolese woman through Women for Women International."

"Both times we have taught this cluster I have been delighted with the inventiveness and passion the students bring to the material and the creative process," Mackenzie said.  "Most are not theatre students, but they have jumped into theatre-making with tons of energy."

At Westminster, a cluster is two linked courses taught by at least two faculty members from different disciplines to the same group of students, offering opportunities to integrate knowledge and to develop into a community of learners. All students are required to take at least one cluster.

Mackenzie, who has been with Westminster since2001, earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Texas at Dallas, master's degree from Michigan State University, and Ph.D. from Wayne State University.  He is a certified associate teacher of Fitzmaurice Voicework who has acting experience in film, television, and theatre and has directed over 30 productions.  Mackenzie co-wrote, produced, and directed Out of the Fire: Voices of the Holocaust for the Hoyt Institute of Fine Arts.  While on active duty with the United States Army Reserve, he directed Bigfoot Stole My Wife, the first show produced entirely by military and civilian personnel stationed in Baghdad's International Zone.

Pataki, who joined the faculty in 2004, earned an undergraduate degree from Allegheny College and Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University.

Contact Mackenzie at (724) 946-6238 (email) or Pataki at (724) 946-7361 (email) for additional information.