The police are at her door. They have come with the news no parent or caretaker wants to hear. Zara learns her grandsons who live with her have had an incident with the police. One is dead the other is in custody charged with the death of his brother and a policeman. Zara is devastated but she knows something the police don’t know. No one could know that Zara is in communication with a higher power that wants her to be the one that stands up in a world gone wrong.
Zara’s Faith is an invitation to stand up issued by Marc Sapir a retired doctor who plays the Bassoon. He writes plays, short stories, and songs all having in common the lens of a man who thinks deeply and wants to share what he has come to know. His Zara’s Faith attempts a lot for a first play but it wants to cover lots of ground. What I find heartbreakingly dear about Sapir’s effort is that he is paying attention. He is like sonar registering the seemingly invisible cry emanating from communities of color in North America. His ability to hear and feel the anguish generated by the number of black and brown men who find themselves entangled with the law, too many fatally so, is a form of confirmation of what we on the ground in the killing fields know. There is an undeclared war on communities of color nationwide.
I often ask the question, if the police are becoming increasingly militarized then what enemy are they being mobilized against? The question is rhetorical as the answer plays itself out on the nightly news, on front pages, and in statistics that offer grim tales of reality and instill fear for the future.
There are a number of things that seem to work in concert to create our current moment. Sapir traces it back to America’s separation from Europe so that it (America) could continue in the slave trade once Europe outlawed it in all its colonies. Rather than acquiesce to ceasing the cruel flow of free African labor the colony went to war and declared its freedom from its founders. That would be the very inception of North America. He also calls your attention to the 13th amendment to help you understand that slavery still exist permitted by a constitutional amendment. He considers the conspiracies that hold some of the more sinister realities in place for communities of color displaying an understanding of how progress is in fact the result of planning. He attempts to show some of the things he’s come to know after a life of service to the poor and elderly. He is leading with his mind but it’s his heart that guides him in this work. He knows something is wrong and he is standing up.
Art for art’s sake is not a concept I understand. In my opinion art should either reflect or inspire society. Art is powerful. It provides a space to engage the head by moving the heart potentially inspiring movement in the body of shared consciousness. It creates a space for you to understand something you may have refused to know. Once you have been moved by knowing its difficult to undone its effect. Zara’s Faith is among a growing body of work that wants you to know then you decide where you stand or if you continue to stand for the status quo by endorsing it with your silence. This work provides a space to discuss your feelings about it and the topics it engages. Zara’s Faith is a work in development, it is coming to La Pena’s on November 13th, and I invite you to come out and meet the playwright and join in the conversation that follows this work.
Come and sit in the seats and see if Sapir can get you to stand up.