Although the staged reading was identical to O’Connor’s story, the performance aspect dramatized the dialogue, and the Greek chorus animated her descriptions. The physical presence of actors allows an audience to engross themselves in relationships and see aspects of themselves within the characters. In this way, the staged reading of “Everything That Rises” created a truly thoughtful piece of theater. While remaining true to the original text, the performance brought the audience into this conflict without unnecessary modernization. The performance allowed the audience to watch Julian in conjunction with his thoughts, during which we could not help but examine ourselves in similar situations. Sure, the short story is set in the 1960s, but Julian’s petulant rationale certainly exists today.
How often do I act for the wrong reasons? Maybe out of spite, or to placate, to get someone out of my hair? And even if it’s the right thing to do, how easily do I excuse myself? In the Georgetown bubble, it is so easy to surround myself with theories, books, and GPA while discounting the people around me, reflecting Julian’s insistence that his morals and intelligence allow him to act for the wrong reasons. I sometimes forget the importance in kindness for kindness’ sake— compassion without trying to prove a point.
Every now and then, it’s crucial to take a step back from the action. Theater for change, like Compagnia de' Colombari’s portrayal of “Everything That Rises Must Converge,” allows us to watch characters make timeless mistakes. In a performance so universal, we have the invaluable opportunity to reflect on our daily choices, measure our morals and faith, our contribution to surrounding culture, and our impact on the common good.