By Jake Mouchawar, Production Dramaturg (This Golden Day)
This Golden Day features ten religions: Sikhism, Buddhism, Christianity, Wicca, Judaism, Jainism, Taoism, Islam, Hinduism, and Ancient Greece. Eleven professional writers were commissioned by director Devanand Janki to create 5-minute musical theatre pieces revolving around or influenced by one of these religions.
From there, the scenes were paired with an actor or a group of actors and the rehearsal process began. The pairings seemed to be matches made in “heaven” (pun intended). Both Max Boone (actor, “Double-A Dax”) and Yan Li (composer and lyricist, “Double-A Dax”) had an excellent time working together. Part of the collaboration effort was the writing/acting team having conversations about the religions featured in their pieces. Both Ariana George (actor, “Just A Little”) and Jake Collins (actor, “Golden Rule”) were very much familiar with the religions of their solo songs before the process began. Maura LaBlanc (actor, “Devin”) and Lauren Dodds (Ensemble/Understudy, “Devin”) both discussed how working on their song “Devin” taught them more about the inequalities faced by women in Ancient Greek society and the similarities of gender inequality in American society today. Brendan Massar (actor, “I’m Coming Home”) learned a lot about the core beliefs important to Sikhism like Seva (selfless service) and Nām Japō (meditation). Giavanna Mariano (actor, “My Fellow Prayer Warriors”) had a couple excellent discussions with songwriter Paulo K Tiról (composer and lyricist, “My Fellow Prayer Warriors”) about the prejudices that Muslims face in America.
While the stories and beliefs at the core of these faith traditions inform This Golden Day, director Devanand Janki makes it clear that this is not a “religious show”. It all returns to the idea of the Golden Rule and how we should be treating others. Each religion has a specific understanding on how this principle should be carried out, and the writers analyzed those takes to create their pieces.