On Nov. 14, Seton Hall will host “The Living Word Project,” an event where people will perform original poems celebrating their faith, culture and identity in the Theatre-in-the-Round as part of International Celebration Month.
Featured artists include but are not limited to poets, spoken word artists and emcees. The event is being put together by communications professor Angela Kariotis, who has been recognized across the world for her work as a performance artist. She writes and performs about race and class inequality in America and has performed all across the globe, from UCLA to the Contact Theatre in Manchester, United Kingdom. She also pioneered a theatre curriculum called, “Walking the Beat.”
Kariotis explained how the event started. She said this type of program is great because it invites younger people to play on their experiences in a relevant way. Kariotis added that Seton Hall provides a comfortable and open environment for people to share their stories.
“Art raises the discourse in the room,” Kariotis said. “I think there are a lot of urgent conversations to be had and I think art can help scaffold those conversations and provide gentle space. I think it’s something exciting and participatory we as a community can share and enjoy.”
Kariotis credited the Institute for Communication and Religion and Dr. Jon Radwan for helping create the event. Kariotis said she wanted to create an event where diverse faiths, ideas and practices were showcased through art.
She said she hopes the event gives joy and a place of belonging. Kariotis said that the event is set to create a space to have intergenerational welcoming of divergent creative ways to express themselves.
Jarrod Jackson, a junior Africana studies and sociology major, will be one of the students performing at the event. Jackson said his performance, “My Friend,” will focus on someone going through heartbreak and trauma. Their faith in God will help them get through their troubles.
Jackson said he believes this event is important to have on campus. He said, “I believe that events like The Living Word Project is important to have on college campuses because people can learn about themselves and life through hearing someone else’s experiences.
“Not only does it allow the artists to reflect on how impactful a time in their lives changed them, it is inspiring for someone to see another person going through something painful but making it through,” he said.
Claudia Romani, a sophomore psychology major, will also be performing at the event. She will perform her entire piece in Spanish.
Romani explained her reason for participating in the event. “I decided to get involved with The Living Word Project because I see it as a great opportunity to share with others how my faith has shaped me into the person I am today,” she said. “What really stood out to me about this project is the fact that students are given the freedom to talk about different faiths in different languages.”
Romani said her piece will be relatable to many Catholics. She will touch on the frustration that one feels to become an “ideal” Catholic.
She said, “I struggle to see myself as a good Catholic and this piece will hopefully transmit all these feelings. This piece means a lot to me because I am allowing myself to be vulnerable in front of an audience and that is not always an easy task.”
Alexander Krukar can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. edu.