David Grant’s play about sortition to be read in St. Louis

The St. Louis Post Dispatch reports:

Global movement towards representative legislatures

St. Louis, Missouri, 18 October: A world-wide movement towards establishing legislative bodies that are fully representative finds expression in the staged reading of “Our Common Lot” by David Grant. The short play is written for an international conference, “Democracy for the 21st Century,” to be held in December at the Library of Alexandria, Egypt.

In the play, Marisa, Alma, Sami, and Ali live in a city embroiled in conflict and violence — the Regime, the Opposition, the Opposition to the Opposition. When the fighting stops, they ask themselves: What is the best way to move forward? “Our Common Lot” argues for choosing legislators in the way that the first democracy did – by random lot, known as ‘sortition.’

In the original Athenian democracy, sortition was regarded as a principal characteristic of democracy. Most recently the city of Melbourne, Australia has used a random sample of citizens to determine its ten-year financial plan. Two-thirds of the recent Irish Constitutional Convention was composed of sortitionally-chosen citizens.

The reading of “Our Common Lot” is its world premiere. The ensemble includes Adam Flores, Carl Overly, Jr., Erin Roberts, and Jacqueline Thompson.

Following the reading, Rachel Tibbetts, an alumna of the Regional Arts Commission Community Arts Training Institute, will facilitate a talkback using the Liz Lehrman critical response process.

This event is free and open to the public — Sunday, October 18, 2:00 PM at The Chapel, 6238 Alexander Drive, St. Louis 63105.

The production is made possible in part by the Steve Nelson Memorial Playwrights Fund of the Greater St. Louis Community Foundation.

About the Playwright:

David Grant brings more than four decades of dedication to political and community affairs. After obtaining a Master of Fine Arts from the U of Iowa’s Writer’s Workshop he became a producer-director for public television. Thereafter followed: self-sufficient homesteader; Peace Corps agroforester with upland aboriginals; director of a community organizing group specializing in “The Listening Project”; founder of “Peace Troupe” (nonviolent action through the cultural arts); educator and trainer of nonviolent political engagement for the International Fellowship of Reconciliation; and a director of Nonviolent Peaceforce providing unarmed protection of civilians in conflict zones around the world.

About the Production

Slightly Askew Theatre Ensemble (SATE) is an ensemble-based theatre company comprised of artists from varying disciplines devoted to on-going training, the telling of stories through an exploration of words, movement, and sound, educational outreach, and the creation and development of new theatrical works and the revisiting of established works as an ensemble.

Citations about sortition

The People’s Panel in Melbourne: http://www.theage.com.au/comment/experiment-pays-off-melbourne-peoples-panel-produces-robust-policy-20150628-ghzoz4.html

The Irish Constitutional Convention: https://www.constitution.ie

The Equality-by-Lot blog: https://equalitybylot.wordpress.com

It is accepted as democratic when public offices are allocated by lot; and as oligarchic when they are filled by election. — Aristotle (Politics IV. 9, 1294b8)

One Response

  1. Anther item about this performance:

    Ancient Greece inspires new political play

    Slightly Askew Theatre Ensemble and Prison Performing Arts will present a free staged reading of “Our Common Lot” at 2 p.m. On Sunday, Oct. 18, at the Centene Center for Arts and Education, 3547 Olive Street.

    Playwright David W. Grant wrote “Our Common Lot” for an international conference, “Democracy in the 21st Century,” that will be held in December in Egypt at the Library of Alexandria.

    The play takes place in a city embroiled in conflict. But how should things proceed when the fighting ends? Grant argues for “sortition,” an ancient Athenian method in which officials are chosen at random from a large pool of candidates. Also known as allotment, sortition was Athens’ primary way to appoint officials. It was considered a cornerstone of democracy.

    The performers are Adam Flores, Carl Overly, Jr., Erin Roberts and Jacqueline Thompson. After the reading, SATE artistic director Rachel Tibbets will lead a talk-back.

    SATE is an ensemble-based theater troupe that performs at The Chapel on Skinker Boulevard. PPA is a multidisciplinary literacy and performing arts program that serves incarcerated adults and children at various facilities in Missouri.


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