About EDGE of Orion Youth Theater

EDGE of Orion Youth Theater started as a school assembly. The idea stemmed from the fact that violence is a reality many children are living with everyday. My feeling was that we shouldn’t shy away from the topic of violence-but open it up and get kids to discuss it, find out where it comes from, and explore it from a historical and theatrical perspective. What emotions bring people to violence?  What allows people to accept violence as a normal reaction to a problem? What actions can we take to overcome the violent impulse? What inner strengths and skills can we learn to master ourselves?

Sword fighting and combat in movies and live theater is thrilling and powerful, and often the peaceful warrior defeats the violent horde. Why? How is this relevant to our students lives? EDGE of Orion uses concepts of stage combat and weapons skills to answer these questions. We explore the idea of the powerful and peaceful warrior to create new pathways to peaceful conflict resolution. Over the course of  7 years, 50 assembles and 30 shows we’ve discovered that dynamic and often unconventional theater experiences allow our students to explore history, art and theater. Through these experiences they gain an understanding of their own personal strengths, power and inner peace, to become peaceful warriors in their lives and communities.

Often times I am asked by the musical theater folks why we do so many violent shows. I get the same question from actor combatants about my love for musicals. The answer is the same; both singing and fighting happen in theater for the exact same reason: because events and emotions have left the characters no other choice.  Why do we sing? Because we have to. Why do we fight? Because we have to.   Remember that nature sings from the violence of thunder to the softest bird warble. And we all fight. Ghandi fought, every day, just not with his fists.

Remember-we pick up the sword to learn how to put it down.