Willa J. Taylor is the Director of Education and Community Engagement for Chicago's Goodman Theatre. She created the Allen Lee Hughes Fellows Program for Arena Stage in Washington, DC; designed the arts education program for the inaugural season of the New Victory Theater in New York City, the city's first theater for children; and developed educational materials for the Broadway production of The Diary of Anne Frank starring Natalie Portman. Ms. Taylor taught English and American Literature at New York's Harvey Milk High School, and has lectured on Theater for Social Change at colleges around the country. A US Navy veteran, Ms Taylor served for 12 years as a Russian-Arabic linguist. While overseas, she produced USO shows in Greece and ran the radio station in Turkey where she created the “Profiles in Black” history series for Armed Forces Radio and Television. She has an MFA in Film from American University and a culinary degree from Kendall College.
This post-show discussion immediately followed the performance of The Island, Remy Bumppo Theatre Company's current mainstage show. Athol Fugard's daring drama is set in an unnamed prison based on the one where Nelson Mandela was held. John and Winston are cellmates who spend their days doing back-breaking labor, and their nights rehearsing Sophocles' Antigone to present to their fellow inmates. When John learns his sentence is being reduced, the men's friendship is tested. Fugard plays the parallels between Antigone's fight against political and patriarchal boundaries off of the imprisoned men's fight for their dignity. The Island is a testament to the resiliency of the human heart.
Recorded Wednesday, February 17, 2010 at The Greenhouse Theater.