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Care/Cure/Corruption: What it and Why it Matters

What do care, cure and corruption all have in common? Yes, they all start with C, but they are also the three tenets of the Drama Department’s 2016 season: “Care/Cure/Corruption” (CCC).

The Claire Trevor School of the Arts (CTSA) brands each season with a theme reflected in all the year’s productions. These themes address the often-discomforting truths about the conditions of society, from the realities of mental illness to the polarization fracturing nations.

“In a political world where we’re kind of in crisis around the world, there’s so much fracturing of parties, hopes and division, that a unifying theme of brotherly love, of support…of being able to forgive [is needed] so that we can move forward and let go,” said Drama Vice Chair, Don Hill.

CTSA, in many respects, questions the mechanics and magnitude of corruption happening on all levels within the worlds of governance, medicine and other institutional powers. Love and caring are offered as solutions to corruption’s destructiveness, but as we’ve seen in fall quarter’s “Man of La Mancha,” the power of corruption is deep-rooted and difficult —  maybe even impossible at times —  to overcome.

“Clybourne Park” will further complicate the discussion from Jan. 31 to Feb 7. in the Robert Cohen Theater as the CTSA cast tackles complex issues including personal identity, housing discrimination and racial tension, among others, through the lives of Black and white families in a demographically-fluid Chicago neighborhood.

Racial inequality and discrimination are as much rooted in American culture as baseball and apple pie. Arguably, this deep-rooted inequality is the result of a historically-corrupt system in which white Americans have profited at the expense of people of color.

Despite steps towards a more socially progressive vision for America, corruption is still evident in unjust sentencing laws, the dubiously-lucrative private prison industry and in precincts where guilty cops walk free.

So the questions Claire Trevor raises are: Is everything curable? Can we heal from years of harm and corruption? What care must we take to heal? In any context, this is an important yet rare conversation, and the art school deserves credit for opening an essential dialogue while investigating the answer through its own research and performance.

The drama department has sought to expand their audience by working together with other schools at UCI and appealing to broader interests. CCC, as the “Cure” might suggest, intertwines with the School of Medicine in order to better understand medicine’s impact on American culture from a physical, mental and systematic sense.

This interdisciplinary approach is a strategic effort from the department to attract a broader audience from diverse fields by appealing to different interests, and hopefully promote solidarity between the arts and other campus disciplines. According to Hill, “It’s our way of trying to connect to the greater campus rather than just being those artsy people across the bridge.”