In advance of a University of Redlands production of A Short History of Anger, a hybrid work written by Creative Writing Professor Joy Manesiotis, the Bulldog Blog updated an Our House article featuring the endeavor. All are welcome to attend the staged reading at the Frederick Loewe Theatre, at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 8 (preview) and Tuesday, April 9 (performance). Entrance is free. No tickets are required.
Poet and University of Redlands Creative Writing Professor Joy Manesiotis tried very hard, but could not contain all she wanted to write about the 1922 Destruction of Smyrna in a poem.
The topic involved her mother’s family history and resonates through each generation to this day.
“Smyrna was an interesting place in the last part of the Ottoman Empire,” she explains. “The largest population was Greek, followed by Turks, then Jews and other Europeans. My mother’s family lived there for hundreds of years. It was a very cultured place.”
Yet after World War I, tension between the Greeks and Turks escalated and ultimately the Allies handed over Smyrna to the Greek government in return for helping win the war in Asia Minor, but the rising Turkish government didn’t recognize that agreement. The result was the genocide of the Greek Orthodox Ottoman subjects in Smyrna, known as The Destruction.
The Greek and Turkish governments agreed to a population exchange and moved all Muslims to Turkey and all Greek Orthodox to Greece. “People identified with their religion and not their country,” Manesiotis says. “The fabric of the culture was ripped apart. It created a humanitarian nightmare; many people died; and 1.5 million refugees flooded Greece.”
Manesiotis says that, over a decade, her poem became bigger and bigger until it became its own project, which she re-started twice. “It took many forms as I explored how to tell the story of the legacy of those events, how they get passed on, and how the trauma resonates through the generations.”
What Manesiotis ended up writing is A Short History of Anger, a work she describes as a hybrid manuscript. It is a book, as well as a staged reading of prose, poetry, essay, and verse performed by a speaker accompanied by a Greek Chorus. Built with many voices, layers, and fractures, the work continued to evolve as she shared parts of it with other creative practitioners at international symposiums and festivals.
Thanks to a collaboration with students and U of R colleagues—Professors Chris Beach (theatre), Heather King (English), and Steve Morics (math and computer science), as well as Religious Life Chaplain Peter Tupou—Manesiotis now brings a staged reading of her work to the University of Redlands. To be held at U of R’s Frederick Loewe Theatre at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 8 (preview) and Tuesday, April 9 (performance), the performance will complement the material with theatrical elements such as light and sound, music, singing, and simple stage movement.
To view a short montage of the performance, visit the SHoA: Trailer; to read more on A Short History of Anger, visit Manestiotis’s website. More information is also available on studying creative writing and theatre arts at the U of R.