Examining Social Issues Through Art. Steve Williamson and Stephen Hanks welcome Camilla Ross and Ashley Adelman to discuss the Arts Academy of Sedona, the Emerson Theater Collaborative and their upcoming performance, The Great Gatsby, A Radio Play.
Ross explains the motivation for this particular performance is that, after the pandemic, she wanted to involve all local artists in the production. She says people forget how much local artists contribute to the community.
Adelman notes the strength of local productions is that they allow people from all different backgrounds to come together, saying, “It doesn’t matter if you’re a professional or your first time doing it. Once you’re in the space, you’re an artist.” Even audience members will be part of the experience because, as Adelman says, “Who wouldn’t want to go back to the 1920s? To be able to go back to the roaring times. And also, to the time of artists coming together to celebrate. Underlying The Great Gatsby, at the core of it it’s about artists and people getting together to just talk.”
Asked about the choice of a production based on a radio play of The Great Gatsby, Ross explains, “It seems to be relevant for the time in which we’re living. I feel like, with Gatsby, there are so many layers and so many things that resonate with us now. That we continue to still deal with the same issues generation after generation. And we don’t seem to be getting any closer to solving those issues.” Many of those issues stem from income inequality which leads to extravagance as well as hunger and homelessness.
Adelman adds, “I would say history doesn’t repeat. People repeat history.”