“…but they are honest and they’re truthful”

It’s incredible how many times you can watch a show and still learn something new each time. We’ve read and rehearsed this show and unbelievable amount of times—and yet, I notice something new almost every run. A couple things I’ve noticed in the past few rehearsals:

Rebecca Hilliker’s line—“You know, I really love my students because they are free thinkers. And you may not like what they have to say, and you may not like their opinions…but they are honest and they’re truthful—so there’s an excitement here…I’d rather have opinions that I don’t like—and have that dynamic in education.”

It’s important that she has this view of her students and appreciates this quality. This is such a crucial part of college—meeting people from different worlds with various lifestyles, customs, and ideas. You encounter some pretty remarkable students in college with pretty remarkable stories and ideas. I love college because I’m surrounded by people who are, typically, just as engaged as I am—engaged in thought and change; engaged in art, or politics, or human rights. I’m surrounded by people who are engaged in life and are “free thinkers.” People here have their own grounded ideas and are willing to challenge your ideas and reconsider theirs. This is monumental in just growing and becoming a better you, defining and redefining your ideas.

I wish more people had Rebecca’s take on education and just…life. She realizes that it’s not necessarily about changing others’ opinions, but creating this active dialogue where we all can share our ideas and thoughts, developing a sort of shared expression and learning. We’ve all met those people or have had those teachers that just want to tell you something instead of having a discussion. A discussion is so much more dynamic, so much more fulfilling. They follow the “my way or the highway” mentality that is so one-dimensional and limiting. There exists a lack of open-mindedness.

She also mentions that her students are honest and truthful, and that’s how we should all strive to be.  I often become so wrapped up in what everyone else is doing or what is expected of me that I’m not truthful to what I should be doing or perhaps to myself. My responses in class or my actions in a particular situation may not be honest or genuine because of outside circumstances, how I think I’ll be perceived, or because of the consequences. I really think that this play tries to do just that—be honest and truthful. We’ve seen from a formal Tectonic Theater member how a bias may taint this truth and honestly, but it does strive to be so by providing multiple perspectives and prodding the audience to come to their own conclusion. I think that our production is true and honest. Each of the characters on that stage is honest and true in their gestures, their tone, and their thoughts. That’s what makes this production so amazing—that’s what’s kept me engaged.

2 thoughts on ““…but they are honest and they’re truthful”

  1. I like Rebecca’s line and attitude as well. I think the play also shows us how difficult dialogue can be (ah … now I’m just having a realization … perhaps this is why they have their interviewees speak in monologues to illustrate how isolated we can be in/with our opinions… I need to think on that further! Thank you for helping me see something in a new light). I like (perhaps to no one’s surprise) that we’ve imagined some of these characters, in our production, as speaking their monologues to/with each other (for example the Death Penalty scene). Tectonic structures those sections as juxtaposing ideas on a person or topic, but I think we’ve taken it one step further in making a kind of dialogue out of them. Of course, the difficult work can’t be done within the body of the play — we can’t really make them hear each other or transform their ideas once they encounter another (that would be a whole new play), but I think we’re closer to Rebecca’s “dynamic” than other productions of this play that I’ve seen.

    I’ve been thinking about Maude’s visit too, especially as we draw nearer to opening. I still have reservations about the way that Tectonic made its play, BUT, that said, I do believe that we have, as you mention, found an honesty and truth in our production of the text that will be palpable to our audience.


  2. I think it is the incredible playwright, Maria Irene Fornes, who talks about how active learning can be on stage. How the “act of learning” can be electric. Watching the discovery of a character as he/she changes and grows. I thought about this as I read your blog.

    Education happens on so many levels. I agree that Rebecca’s concerns about how the dialogue with her students is nurtured and not destroyed is an imperative part of the process of education.

    Everyone has such a passionate ownership in this production. That is what contributes to its success. Each and everyone of you own your cog of something that is larger than your individual “role.” In my 30 years of teaching, I have never been as impressed with how well a group has worked together and claimed the work that they are doing.

    This was a great post. Thanks. Best- Jeffrey

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