Last week, we were invited to talk about our upcoming play on “The American Dream” with the Storycode Boston community. It was amazing to be in a room of people who are so creative in how they think about storytelling, and so generous in offering ideas and feedback. We are so grateful for their warm welcome. And we were really excited to learn about “Good Luck Soup,” a participatory documentary on the lives of Japanese Americans & Japanese Canadians after they left the World War II Internment Camps. Check it out.
At StoryCode, we not only got to do the first live reading of excerpts from our interviews, but we also had a chance to share the journey of how we found the people we interviewed (a story all its own and a topic for a future blog post). The final piece is based on 40 interviews with people from across the country who work very different jobs and have very different lives. During these interviews, we asked everyone the same 13 questions aimed at getting to the heart of what they do, how they are perceived because of it, and what they want from their lives.
- What do you do for a living?
- How did you get here? How did you start doing this job?
- How do you describe your job to other people?
- What's the biggest stereotype (positive or negative) people have (1) about your job? (2) about you because of your job?
- Do you play a character at work? Do you feel like yourself when you are there?
- What do you get from what you do?
- If you could do anything for a job, what would you do?
- What’s your philosophy about the role work should play in your life?
- Where do you draw your sense of self in life? What are you most proud of?
- What does success look like for you at work and in life?
- What do you think the message of the American Dream is? Does it influence you at all?
- What advice would you give to someone graduating high school?
- You return home for a family reunion / high school class reunion, what do you most wish people would ask you? What do you want to know about them?
We saw so many moments of connection, where people with little in common on the surface spoke of similar experiences. Like when a Pakistani-born, female aerospace engineer from the northeast and a white man who works in IT down South shared their passion for work, but also the line they drew for themselves about what they weren’t willing to give up to pursue it. Or like when a 26 year-old African-American woman who works at a housing development and a 56 year-old white female accountant shared their journeys to stop defining success on someone else’s terms. And sometimes, people’s answers were direct contradictions of each other. When we asked people about the advice they’d give high school students, we could almost hear the interviewees arguing with one another even though they weren’t sitting in the same room.
We’ve loved hearing their answers to these questions, and we hope that when you come see the show this fall, you’ll answer them too. (Through displays in the lobby, not audience participation. Don’t be frightened!) What question do you think provided the most surprising answers? Leave your guesses in the comments.
The Visitors launched their Indiegogo Campaign last week to raise $1500 to help stage this show in October 2015, and are already nearly 50% funded. Find out more and help us spread the word.