Bad Jews, by Joshua Harmon, generates many ideas about faith, culture, family and identity. To further explore these issues with our audience, we have been hosting post-show conversations in our lobby after every performance. The response to these conversations has been an overwhelming success, with more than 750 patrons (to date) staying after the shows. Led by Theatre Calgary’s artistic team, and featuring members of the cast and creative team, this has been an invaluable opportunity to increase our audience engagement by creating an open exchange about the many passionate and resonating subjects that are raised by the play.
"If Bad Jews is a play about the responsibility of our generation to tell the stories of those that came before, the post-show discussions make space to share the individual stories that this work inspires,” says cast member Bobbi Goddard. “At these conversations, we are blessed with the collective memories and stories shared by audience members from all different backgrounds and faiths."
When we programmed Bad Jews as part of this season, we recognized an excellent opportunity for a show to resonate deeply with our audiences and encourage a community dialogue beyond the confines of our theatre seats. While the discussion topics vary every day, some recurring themes present themselves daily. Subjects such as tradition, the passing along of both religion and identity through family lines, how families deal with grief, and the responsibilities that fall on the younger generation are discussed passionately and emotionally by our audiences and the artists from the show.
“The response to our post-show conversations has been truly exceptional. People have been so generous in sharing their ideas, histories, emotions and perspectives with us,” says Associate Artistic Director Shari Wattling. “We have been moved and enlightened, and have developed a deeper understanding of the diversity in our audience, and our city. It is a great example of how theatre can connect our community.”
Cast member David Sklar sees amazing benefits for both the cast and our audiences. “It is a rare and wonderful opportunity as an actor to hear from audience members night after night. Their opinions and thoughts on the play and characters makes me appreciate the part I play and how they connected with the subject matter. I feel grateful that the conversation can possibly shape someone's future opinions on identity, heritage and love.”
Here are a few of the wonderful responses from our audience members at the post-show conversations:
“Thank you for hosting this talk. This has been so important.”
“These are exactly the conversations that young Jewish people are having today.”
“You should have more of these conversations because only by talking together can we change.”
“Thank you for putting on a play that allows people who are disenfranchised to have a voice.”
Our post-show conversations continue after every performance now through the end of the run of Bad Jews on April 10th.
Tickets are available here, and our final Rush Ticket Tuesday performance is April 5th at 7:30pm.