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Description:  Join us for an evening of theater followed by small group processing. Originated and performed by actor, professor and comedian, Samuel Ray Gates, When the Swelling Goes Down explores themes of race, identity, and trauma with humor and poignancy. The development of this work-in-progress continues to be deeply impacted by the murder of George Floyd and the the COVID pandemic; in it, Gates’ reflections animate experiences that can be too fraught or painful to talk about as a collective. Participants are invited to observe their own reactions to Gates’ storytelling, engage in mindful sharing, and to reflect on the power of the narrative for meaning making, connection, and healing.

Learning objectives: By the conclusion of the program, participants will be able to:

  1. Reflect on the use of storytelling to make sense of and heal from traumatic experiences.
  2. Engage in self-reflection to explore and situate one’s own experience within a collective narrative.
  3. Practice with vulnerability to increase trust, compassion, and connection with others.

Trainer: Samuel Ray Gates is an actor, writer, comedian, and assistant professor of acting at the University of North Carolina. He earned his MFA at the American Conservatory Theatre. He is in his sixth year in PlayMakers Repertory Company at UNC, where he recently carried August Wilson’s How I learned What I Learned. His extensive list of off-Broadway and regional acting credits include Fairview (Woolly Mammoth); Electra (the Classical Theatre of Harlem); Clybourne Park (Cincinatti Playhouse in the Park); Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and Fences at Swine Palace; and Between Riverside and Crazy (American Conservatory Theater). Among his television and film credits are The Staircase, Dopesick, House of Cards, The Blacklist, Veep, Mozart in the Jungle, Person of Interest, Unforgettable, The Men Who Stare at Goats, Law & Order; Rescue Me; November Criminals (2016; Wolves (TriBeCa Film Festival).  



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