A recent survey of likely voters found that 76 percent say civility has declined over the last decade, to the point where most Americans believe the lack of civility in politics is a “crisis.” The anonymous comments at the end of a political article on the Internet can be hateful, combative and dread-inducing.  The nastiness of political rhetoric on social media is, in my opinion, corrosive to the human spirit.  Friends on both sides of the political spectrum have told me that they have “unfriended” anyone who supports the “other” candidate calling them all “stupid,” “crazy,” or even “murderers”!

It’s easy to scroll through Facebook or Twitter and feel a bit of discriminating superiority as you read acid-tongued tweets about those “other people” who disagree with your political, social, and religious beliefs.  Viral memes which ridicule anyone who could possibly support ‘idiotic’ candidates or policies are so easy and fun to share.  It is now simpler than ever to lump all of those ignorant buffoons together and dismiss them into the category of deplorable persons for whom nobody has time.

Community Theatre of Greensboro challenges you to stop “un-friending” and keep extending yourself out into our diverse community.  Auditioning for a CTG production or volunteering to help backstage or behind the scenes is a great way to engage with people who are different from you!  I love seeing the unlikely friendships that are forged during community theatre productions.  It is completely true and wonderful that Republicans and Democrats, Muslims, Christians, and Jews, vegetarians and barbecue chefs can all work together in harmony and even develop deep friendships. Rehearsing and performing together creates trust and intimacy among cast members whether they come from similar or completely different backgrounds.  When we work together to perfect a scene, when we help each other learn lines or harmonies, when we collectively hold our breath and behold a cast member’s spot-on portrayal of a character, we form a bond and we find common ground despite being told by the rest of the world that our differences make us incompatible.

Maybe Congress will never get it right. It is likely that Trump and Clinton will never be best friends.  But we can be better! Theatre is fun. It develops confidence, responsibility, and character. Theatre teaches us to be vulnerable and to try new things, but in my opinion, the best thing about Community Theatre of Greensboro is the COMMUNITY piece of the puzzle. CTG brings people together to learn about, experience and celebrate the JOYS of theatre.  If this appeals to you, get involved!  Come to a show! Come to audition! Inquire about volunteer opportunities!  Shut off your phone; turn off the awfulness on TV, and connect with new, fun people whom you might never meet otherwise.

To learn more about volunteer opportunities at CTG, contact Victoria Ball.