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Inspiring Bits

"A Night of Three Short Plays"

7:30 p.m., tonight, Thursday. Aug. 12

Rogue Theatre

300 E. University Blvd.

(949) 547-6067;

www.theroguetheatre.org

A new school year is about to begin, and it's only a matter of time before students start ripping the hair out of their scalps from stress.

Good news: The Rogue Theatre is presenting "A Night of Three Short Plays," an event that will surely calm the nerves of students and nonstudents alike.

The event will include three plays that are intended to inspire the crowd. The first two short plays are The Retreating World and One Short Sleepe, which both focus on the life in the Middle East and are both by Naomi Wallace.

Nic Adams, the producer of the plays, believes that the audience will appreciate how both plays are acted out.

"What mainly led us to do these two pieces was that we wanted show a political (viewpoint) and give a beautiful representation of humanity," Adams said. "The monologues of both plays will inspire the audience to think about what they have witnessed, and our main focus is to give inspiration to the crowd."

After intermission, the crowd will enjoy a premiere reading of Guajero, "the story of the Guatemalan democratic revolution of 1944 told through the eyes of a trash-picker."

Adams wrote Guajero to show that even during dark times, a person can break free from negativity.

"The main focus of Guajero is to show people that negative social models can be broken, even when the government may not provide a positive one," Adams said.

Admission for "A Night of Three Short Plays" is pay-what-you-will. Visit the website for more information. —D.O.


Poetry to Empower

Readings by Rebecca Seiferle and Dolores Connelly

7 p.m., Friday, Aug. 13

Antigone Books

411 N. Fourth Ave.

792-3715

In lots of ways and on lots of levels, language can be limiting. Language helps dictate how we form our thoughts, express ourselves and communicate with others—and it can also help support oppressive ideas just by acting as a vehicle for them.

But language can also be used to combat those bad ideas by breaking them down—and poetry, in all its fluidity, is one of the best ways to do that.

Local poet, translator and teacher Rebecca Seiferle is a big fan of fluidity—both in language and in life. In fact, much of her writing focuses on a fluid back-and-forth exchange between life and death, presence and absence, and "you" and "I." One of the main goals of her work is to use the flexibility of language to break down the cultural limitations it sometimes can perpetuate.

"Various oppressive forces in our culture are often embedded in the language," she says. "With my poetry, I'm trying to create room for real feeling and perception in a space between cultural-historical issues and personal events."

Dolores Connelly, another female Tucson poet, is also into breaking down barriers. Liza Porter—who started Tucson's Other Voices Women's Reading Series at Antigone Books—describes Connelly as "an outspoken activist who's not afraid to say what's on her mind and ask questions." Connelly's most recent body of work is a collection of 100 haikus dedicated to people who've been forced from their homelands or houses—including victims of Hurricane Katrina.

The event with Seiferle and Connelly is free, and includes an open mic and refreshments. —A.M.


Religiously Challenged

God on Trial by Richard Morris

10 a.m., Sunday, Aug. 15

University Medical Center, Duval Auditorium

1501 N. Campbell Ave.

297-9919;

www.centerforinquiry.net/saz

According to the Bible, God is the ultimate "judge." But what if God himself were put on trial—God's existence, that is?

In his novel God on Trial, attorney Richard W. Morris creates such a situation, using his legal know-how to challenge common beliefs about God in a legal setting. The plot involves as much crime, corruption and debauchery as litigation, while getting readers to test their own beliefs about religion.

The novel begins when Sister Mary, a Sister Superior at the fictional Church of the Saved, is found dead—with a $2 million life-insurance policy effectively benefitting the church's main man, Pastor Maxentius Zeno Constantine. Coincidence? Graduate student David Stone thinks not.

On the same night as Mary's death, David is arrested for blasphemy after publicly challenging the pastor. But before his prosecutors can make a case, David insists that they must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he's committed blasphemy—and that requires the law to provide a definition of God, as well as hard evidence.

Meanwhile, the pastor appears to be involved in shady financial transactions and has connections to some pretty kinky "devotional rites" done at a religious retreat by one Sister Leah—an intersexual reformed dominatrix who now restricts her practices to underground duties as a "Mistress of Justice."

This weekend, the Center for Inquiry invites you to put God on trial while listening to a lecture by Morris.

"The main focus here is critical thinking," said Jerry Karches, the coordinator for Tucson's Center for Inquiry. "What we're really trying to do by offering this lecture is promote people thinking instead of using dogma to make decisions."

The event is free, but small donations are welcome. —A.M.


Happy Birthday, India

India Independence Day Celebration

6 p.m. social/dinner hour; 7:30 p.m. performance, Saturday, Aug. 14

Berger Performing Arts Center

1200 W. Speedway Blvd.

971-9924;

www.issaaz.org

On Aug. 15, 1947, India achieved independence from Britain. The day is a national holiday. At the historical site of Red Fort, New Delhi, the prime minister hosts a national flag-hoisting ceremony and gives a televised speech highlighting government achievements and commemorating those who struggled to earn India's freedom from British rule. Across India, citizens gather to dine, be entertained and generally enjoy themselves.

We're celebrating the day in Tucson, too—and we have been for years, thanks to the India Society of Southern Arizona.

This year, the organization will celebrate independent India's 63rd birthday with an event highlighting a performance by critically acclaimed Indian dancer Sukalyan Bhattacharya and his troupe. Besides gaining popularity throughout India (and the world), Bhattacharya has worked with the film industry, dancing with professional actors and actresses. At this year's celebration, his dancers will collaborate with local dance school the Urvashi Dance Academy to present a wide variety of traditional dances from India.

The event will also include a social dinner hour, a children's art contest and a photography contest for adults.

"We've really seen an increase in the Indian community here in Tucson," said Indu Partha, an ISSA board member. "So there are a lot more Indian people to reach. Beyond that, (non-Indian) people are becoming more familiar with various Indian art forms through movies or TV ... they can see Indian dance in person. ... a lot of locals—whether Indian or not—will enjoy seeing this performance."

Admission starts at $20. —A.M.

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