By Madeline Scher.
A senior at Lehman, Jason Jeremias is the definition of a proactive student. On April 11 and 12 at 7:30 p.m., The Price of Silence took place in the Lovinger Theater. Its goal, in the words of writer/director Jeremias, was to “illuminate the global struggle for women’s rights.”
Majoring in theater, minoring in anthropology, dance and political science, Jeremias is the founder of the movement The Price of Silence, a show that combined music, acting, and dance choreography to highlight some of the great challenges that many women face such as that of domestic violence and rape.
In 2010, after hearing news about a village in the Democratic Republic in Congo where rebels held hostages for about a month while repeatedly raping the women, Jeremias was outraged. “There was no intervention. In the American press you didn’t hear anything about it.”
He called Amnesty International and worked with them during the Darfur conflict, then reached out to more people regarding women’s rights to see how he could form collaborations to bring such issues to light. “If the press isn’t talking about it, if nobody is talking about it, why don’t I be the one to talk about it? ” he asked.
The Price of Silence was born.
Primarily a grassroots activist performing arts collective, the show sought to engage the audience and force them to live and feel what was taking place onstage. There were no barriers between the audience and the actors.
Written and conceptualized by Jeremias, the performing arts collective consisted of around 54 individuals, many of whom are Lehman students.
Others, such as Lehman graduate Jamalai Corniel, and musician Odane Whilvi, assisted in the creation.
Bringing attention to the racism, violence, poverty and the overall “war against women,” as he called it, would be one of the first steps in ending that “war.”
People from Sri Lanka, India, Palestine, Berlin, various places in the U.S., and organizations such as UNICEF, have reached out to Jeremias in support and with requests for him to bring the production to other places.
“The long term goal is not only to continue bringing awareness through the plays here, but also to take it to developing countries. Play writing is literature, gathering an audience is business; and through the movement, [we can] be an engine of economic development as well as education,” he said.
The Price of Silence was also featured on April 24th as part of “Take Back The Night”, an internationally held event that protests against sexual violence and abuse.