Hamlin Presents Animal Farm

AnimalFarm2The past few months have been politically tumultuous in the United States, to say the very
least, and I have been dismayed by the lack of critical thinking and civil discourse in our
country. From fake news to false prophets, we have had to work hard to discern facts from
fiction and understand our mixed emotions. In the midst of it all, however, I have been
delighted to enter Hamlin’s doors each day, and I am proud of the way Hamlin girls and the
adults in their lives have engaged in robust and respectful dialogue about all that we are
hearing and seeing. As I wrote in a previous letter to the community, this is the sacred and
good work of excellent schools.

Many months ago, we chose Animal Farm as our play for 2016-17, knowing that the
production would provide a vehicle for our girls and the entire community to examine the
past, the present, and the future. Ms. Abbott and I remembered reading the political allegory
when we were teens; the animals on the farm revealed deep truths about human behavior and
demonstrated the deleterious impact of a leader’s rhetoric and decisions. Just as George
Orwell intended for his audience to focus on Stalin and the Russian Revolution, we wanted
our school community to think about life and leadership in America and some of the current
challenges of our time: unequal distribution of resources; scapegoats; civil unrest; abuse of
power and greed. I have always loved the way theater invites us into courageous
conversations about our core values and, at its best, inspires us to become better versions of
ourselves. Might the story of America, unlike Animal Farm, end in triumph instead of
tragedy? I say yes! Fortunately, the chapters of our history are still being written, and I believe
passionately that we can all be authors of an American story that ends in peace, equity, and
inclusion.

The bookends of this school week must be noted—the celebration of the life and legacy of Dr.
Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday, and the inauguration of President-elect Donald J. Trump
on Friday. These two men have striking differences, yet both said they could see America’s
vast potential and wanted to make the country more accountable to its founding principles of
equality, safety, and prosperity. Wherever one falls on the political spectrum, Animal Farm
will remind us that leadership matters and that we all have a role to play in the march (on two
legs, perhaps?) toward justice.

Wanda M. Holland Greene
Head of School

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