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Macbeth’s bravery in battle gains him a promotion, for which he’s humbly grateful. But when presented with a prophecy of himself as king, he abdicates any duty to earn the crown by valor, instead turning to deceit, betrayal, and murder to immediately gratify the fantasy of himself on the throne. His selfish, violent actions destroy everything he once fought to honor: family, duty, brotherhood, esteem. Finally, the chasm between his image as a godly, righteous king and his actual existence of emptiness, paranoia, and misery, swallows him.
This gap between idealized image and empty, desperate existence is one that we recognize today, as we’re urged to create and present an inflated, enviable identity by means of image-making and self-promotion, rather than by living, learning, and applying the lessons of experience. Examples of this dynamic abound in our popular culture and the media, and we can see it as well in the increasing need and use of mental health services for feelings of meaninglessness and worthlessness. How did we get here? What is the allure of inhabiting an image with no earned experience? What does it cost us to live in that anxiety-filled gap, comparing ourselves to others and worrying that we will be found out? Join us for a conversation with scholars, artists, and community practitioners to consider the construction of the self, the risks and rewards of accountability, and finding meaning in living our actual lives.
Join us as Providence Public Library Program & Exhibitions Director/Trinity Rep Conversationalist-in-Residence Christina Bevilacqua moderates a discussion with:
- Dr. Paul Baker, psychiatrist, Butler Hospital;
- Julia Steiny, founder and Managing Director of Youth Restoration Project, a consulting practice working with schools, social-service agencies, state and local authorities and neighborhood organizations to teach and implement restorative practices;
- Tiana Whittington, dancer, currently performing in Good Grief, Everett Company’s multimedia dance theater work exploring the minds and bodies of individuals after enduring trauma.
Reservations are encouraged. Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org