October 18, 2019

Salon Series

The Attainment, Fulfillment, and Resilience in Sports and Society series focused on how superstar culture in the U.S. seduces and fails young people from challenged backgrounds and struggling communities, while diverting attention and urgency from systemic obstacles and problems. Defining success in terms of a few superstar examples of success – be it in sports or in academic attainment - covers up deep-rooted problems in these settings and promotes an all or nothing, high risk attitude toward life choices.  

The conversation focused on policy and societal themes implicit in two forthcoming productions: Shakespeare Theater Company’s production of Everybody by MacArthur Fellow Branden Jacobs-Jenkins and Ford’s Theatre production of August Wilson’s Fences.  The conversation addressed how society privileges superstar attainment over self-actualization and how that ethic hinders efforts to create a more equitable and more fulfilled nation.  

The plays that informed this Salon - Fences and Everybody - provided insights into how individuals from a variety of backgrounds and generations have sought meaning and fulfillment in their lives.  Both plays looked at the impacts of those choices, both on the self and on others.  Panelists addressed what audience members could do to contribute to building resilience and purpose in the face of skewed societal expectations and economic challenges.  

Please note that this event may have been filmed and/or photographed.  

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Michael Feldman

Michael Feldman (Moderator)

April Lawson, Aspen Institute

April Lawson

Drew Litchtenberg, Shakespeare Theatre Company

Drew Litchtenberg

P.S. Perkins

P.S. Perkins

The NYU Washington, DC Salon Series: Conversations with Writers & Artists presents an opportunity for the NYU and Washington, DC community to meet and engage in dialogue with acclaimed writers and artists as they reflect on their craft. This program provides facilitated conversations that aim to illuminate the guests’ creative processes, discuss their current works, and explain the impact of their work on the world around us. The Salon Series is made possible by NYU Washington, DC through the collaboration of NYU schools, departments and centers, as well as through special relationships with selected external organizations.