By CARLI SMITH
As a playwright and community advocate, Daniel Carlton combines his experience in theater with his passion for social change. Daniel is working with a small community of women in central Mexico on a play about the effects of immigration on Mexican families. He wrote and directed for the women to perform on tour this spring. Daniel’s career allows him to work with communities around the world, using theater to communicate how political decisions and international business affect local ways of life.
What are some unique challenges you face as a playwright?
The hardest thing about this type of theater is building the audience. Unlike most types of entertainment, it’s not just about pleasing people. Sometimes when you want to change things, you have to tell people stuff they don’t want to hear. But when we see problems in the world, we can’t remain silent.
How important is it that your career helps bring about world change?
The Greeks invented theater, and their word for actor translates to “maker of ethics,” so I’ve always felt a responsibility to use my work to try to make the world better. Telling stories makes us human, and sharing stories reminds us that other people are too. Justice and compassion are what theater is about.
What education path or real-world experiences should young people seek out if they want to become a playwright?
See every performance. Read every book. Act in every school play. Most importantly, really listen when people talk, especially people you don’t agree with. Theater is about fighting for a point of view, and a playwright needs to see that conflict from both sides.
To find out more about Daniel’s organization, go to Families Without Borders.