Fairfield University presents the North American Premiere of Perpetual Peace

Submitted by Carolyn Arnold, Assistant Director, Marketing & Communications on September 1, 2011

The Fairfield community will have the unique opportunity to view the premiere of a play written by one of Spain’s most important playwrights today. The North American premiere of Perpetual Peace, written by Juan Mayorga, will examine the moral implications of torture in the war against war. Performances are from October 5-8 at 8 pm. in the Wien Experimental Theatre in the Quick Center for the Arts. Tickets can be purchased through the Box Office.

Dr. Jerelyn Johnson, assistant professor of modern languages and literatures, who first saw the play in 2008 while she was in Madrid for a research trip, translated the play and received funds to produce it at Fairfield. “I thought the play would be a perfect opportunity for interdisciplinary cooperation on campus due to its important, timely, and complex treatment of the use of torture in the war on terror,” she says.

Perpetual Peace was published in 2007 and presented at the National Theater Teatro María Guerrero in 2008. It was positively received by critics and won the prestigious “Valle-Inclán Prize,” one of Spain’s top theater prizes. “His plays tend to be about ideas and raise more questions than they answer,” says Dr. Johnson.

The play examines the ethical justification of the use of torture and raises questions on an individual’s moral complicity with the actions of the state. In the play, three dogs compete for the “collar,” a coveted job in state security. Dr. Johnson says, “The play is not a propaganda piece against the use of torture; instead, it raises several arguments for and against its use by the state in the war against terror.”

The production of Perpetual Peace is the result of collaboration with many people at Fairfield. Each performance will be dedicated to a specific question, which will relate to an academic discipline such as philosophy, politics, modern languages and literatures, international studies, and peace and justice. The production also received funding from the Humanities Institute in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Alistair Highet, director of communications, who has a 20-year history of producing plays in Connecticut, will direct the play; Dr. Dennis Keenan, professor of philosophy, is one of the actors; and Martha Milcarek, assistant vice president for brand management and public relations, is a producer of the play.

In addition, Perpetual Peace is a special collaboration with the Quick Center for the Arts. “Gary Wood, the director of the Quick Center, has been an enthusiastic supporter of the production due to his dedication to working with different academic departments on campus. I believe this is their first co-production,” says Dr. Johnson.

As the opening night draws closer, Dr. Johnson says she is excited to see the responses to the play. “I hope it stimulates conversation and debate, not only in the theater after the performance, but in the classroom, residence halls, and in the general community.”

For tickets (available for purchase on September 9) to Perpetual Peace call the Box office: (203) 254-4010 or visit the Regina A. Quick Center.

This event is part of Fairfield University’s Global Citizenship initiative.

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