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Syracuse Stage is part of CNY community reading initiative
Syracuse Stage is part of CNY community reading initiativeOctober 05, 2001Kevin Morrowkdmorrow@syr.edu
A celebratory kickoff has been scheduled for the new community initiative “If All of Central New York Read the Same Book.” As much program title as dream, the goal of the project is to have as many people as possible throughout Central New York read Ernest Gaines’ 1993 novel “A Lesson Before Dying”. The kickoff will start at 2:30 p.m. Oct. 14 at Barnes and Noble, located on Erie Boulevard East in DeWitt.
An ad hoc group of community leaders has come together to repeat the success of the one book, one community idea that began in Seattle several years ago. Included in the endeavor are schools, libraries, churches, civic organizations and book clubs. Many throughout Central New York have started “A Lesson Before Dying,” which tells the story of a black schoolteacher in rural Louisiana in 1948 and the wrongfully convicted prisoner he grudgingly befriends. As the prisoner nears execution for a crime he didn’t commit, he learns dignity and self-respect, qualities that the schoolteacher imparts but also takes to heart in his own life. By the end, even though the prisoner dies, the schoolteacher lives on, finally proud of his heritage and committed to teaching the young men and women of his community.
The program will culminate in February, when Gaines visits during the first weekend of the month and Syracuse Stage opens an adaptation of the work on Feb. 14. The book was selected because of its powerful and pertinent themes: youth violence, disillusionment, capital punishment, racial tensions and coming of age. Representatives of the steering committee are available to speak to organizations throughout the area. Syracuse Stage also offers teacher workshops to prepare for the play and Community Wide Dialogue will sponsor Dialogue Circles. A study guide is available free of charge.
For further information, contact Jeff Williams, project coordinator at 443-2636 or firstname.lastname@example.org.