The Davis Academy Middle School attended the world premiere Atlanta playwright Pearl Cleage’s “Tell Me My Dream” at the Alliance Theatre in Midtown on Friday, Nov. 6.
Set in Atlanta, the play time-travels between 1910 and now as characters from both periods explore the impact of historical events on their lives, respond to personal loss, explore their potential as human beings, and ask what responsibility they have to help shape their world.
Cleage wrote the play for a middle school audience, and the theater was packed with students from schools across Atlanta.
After the performance, the Davis group gathered for a special panel discussion that included Sherry Frank, the former executive director of the American Jewish Committee’s Southeast Region; the Rev. Gerald Durley, the senior pastor of Providence Missionary Baptist Church, who marched with and carries on the work of Martin Luther King Jr.; and Christopher Moses, the Alliance’s director of education and associate artistic director. These community activists inspired Davis students and faculty with stories of finding the strength to make the world a better place and challenged them to figure out how to do the same.
Durley’s personal stories of confronting and overcoming racism, as well as the moment when he looked out at the Davis Academy student body and expressed an overwhelming feeling of hope, were highlights.
Students spent the afternoon in small breakout sessions that offered creative ways for them to express their thoughts, feelings, insights and questions.
“Rather than losing steam after such a heavy series of interactions, our students continued to pick up momentum throughout the day. I’m sure that Shabbat dinner table discussions provided yet another opportunity to share the day’s learning,” said Rabbi Micah Lapidus, Davis’ director of Jewish and Hebrew studies.
He added: “Atlanta is a city overflowing with opportunities for cultural, historical and civic learning. The culture of the Davis Academy is one that seeks to instill in our students the awareness that learning takes place both within and beyond the classroom. ‘Tell Me My Dream’ was not our first trip to the Alliance Theatre, and it surely will not be our last.”