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What a Stranger May Know

A play commemorating the lives of the thirty-two victims of Virginia Tech.

By Erik Ehn

April 16, 2012 7:30 am
St. Ignatius Lawn

Santa Clara University is one of 24 universities presenting Erik Ehn’s ambitious “What a Stranger May Know” on that day. Erik Ehn, Director of Playwriting at Brown University and internationally recognized artist-activist, has written 32 plays, one for each of the victims of the shootings at Virginia Tech and these will be performed as readings on the five-year anniversary of that day, April 16, 2012 across the United States.


Ehn is endeavouring to "write the unspeakable" and to make reflective, not informational works in which no one is impersonated.  He describes the simultaneous readings of these 32 scripts as "people thinking in time...a memorial action."  The goal being "to provide a community with imaginative access to mourning." Since the shootings took place in a hall where French, German and Hydrology were taught, there are many references to these three subjects in the monologues about both students and professors who lost their lives that day.


This SCU event involves a cast and crew of 76 people, and is set throughout the St. Ignatius lawn between Kenna, St. Joseph's, Walsh Administration and the Law School. It is a collaboration between SCU students, staff, faculty, alumni and colleagues at other institutions. Assistant Directors Dor Cosby Atkinson, Jeffrey Bracco, Kimberly Mohne Hill, Christine Keating, Eric Loo, Courtney Elkin Mohler and Charlotte McIvor are working with Co-Artistic Directors Kristin Kusanovich and Michael Zampelli, S.J. to create this campus-wide communal event.


We hope that professors with classes offered at 8 o'clock A.M. on Monday April 16, 2012 might consider having their class meet 30 minutes early in order to attend this one-time event at 7:30 am if appropriate.


Audience will gather at 7:20 am under the palm trees near St. Joseph's Hall. The performance is from 7:30 am to 9:10 am. Following the performance, a place for conversation, written reflections in journals, meditations and prayers will be available nearby. We thank Campus Ministry for providing spiritual counselors to support those who may be in need upon completion of "What a Stranger May Know."


For further information please contact

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Marie Clements

This spellbinding work explores the human cost of ecological exploitation, nuclear warfare, and economic greed as it traces the mining of uranium and radium in North America to the atomic bombing of Japan in WWII. It is about a thirst for power and wealth at any cost; about the torturous journey to move radium and uranium from mine to market; and the exploitation of the Dene people who exposed themselves and then the world to deadly radioactivity. Full of thought‐provoking words and images, this drama won’t be


JAI Guest Artist Series welcomes Canadian playwright Marie Clements to campus. Spend two nights at Mayer theatre with this award-winning performer, playwright, screenwriter, director, producer and founding artistic director of urban ink productions and fathom labs highway and writer of “Burning Visions,” the Winter 2012 mainstage production of the Department of Theatre & Dance.
  • Interdisciplinary Panel Discussion | March 6, 2012, Tuesday 5:30-6:30 PM, Free! | with Jeff Bury, Marie Clements, Courtney Elkin Mohler, James Lai, & Barbara Maloney. Expert speakers will discuss the themes of the play, such as Ecological, Exploitation, Uranium Mining, Post-WWII Japan, Environmental-Racism, The Asian American Experience in WWII era USA, & Ecological-Drama 
  • Post-Performance Discussion | March 7, 2012, Wednesday, 7:30 PM Show, 9:30 pm | Attend the Wednesday night performance of Burning Visions at Mayer Theatre and enjoy a Post-Performance discussion with Canadian playwright Marie Clements and director Courtney Mohler on the creative process that culminated in this production.
Marie Clement’s residency is a collaboration between the Justice and the Arts Initiative and the Department of Theatre and Dance. Burning Vision also runs on the following dates at the Louis B. Mayer Theatre: Mar 1-4 & 7-10, 2012; Wed. & Thurs. 7:30pm, Fri. & Sat. 8pm, Sun. 2pm. For tickets please call the box office at 408-554-4015.

Winter 2012 Events 


A Multi-media performance / Department of Music, Supported by JAI & the CPA
Directed by David Duenas and featuring a great line-up of professional jazz musicians and vocalists
Saturday, January 14, 2011 7:30PM | Music Recital Hall - Free Admission
Experience a powerful evening integrating jazz and justice in an artful night of music and imagery that takes us through the civil rights movement to the present day. This evening is a delightful and moving program of live jazz that suggests the great hopefulness and freedom inherent in the creative act... a true homage to the human spirit. Great jazz... great jamming... and a great way to celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.!

Fall 2011 Events 


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Prashant Olalekar, S.J., was on campus from September 28-October 12, 2011 as a Justice and the Arts Initiative (JAI) Guest Artist and Bannan Visitor. Fr. Prashant Olalekar, S.J., is the Director of Jivan Vikas Sadan Retreat House, Bandra, India and has completed a doctorate in peace studies at Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, California in May 2006. Fr. Prashant regularly offers retreats and programs in Ignatian Spirituality and is also the founder of InterPlay India.


InterPlay is a form of moving meditation that helps integrate body, mind, heart and spirit. It uses forms associated with the arts—movement, storytelling, voice and stillness—to actively and creatively unlock the wisdom of the body. InterPlay India is a global social movement dedicated to connection, human sustainability, and play. Fr. Prashant integrates the Ignatian spiritual exercises and InterPlay techniques through Global Peace Exchanges — opportunities to interact through structured play and improvised interrelatedness with the poor, the differently-abled and other marginalized groups. (Click here to see a video of InterPlay in action)


"The unique joy of interacting as playful equals is beyond words." -Fr. Prashant Olalekar, S.J.

For more information on his residency at SCU please visit the Ignatian Center's site
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