As I headed down to the basement of the Occupy Dayton space to set up for my first performance, I ran into a young man who was a volunteer for a church group located in the same East Dayton location. He said, “I just want to thank you for bringing your play here. Nobody brings shows like yours to this part of town.”
My name is Aaron Calafato and I’m an Actor, Writer, and Solo-performer who specializes in solo-theater for social change. I’ve also written contributing articles and have worked alongside Occupy Student Debt on the issue of Student debt reform.
See, I had been touring my new show “FOR PROFIT”, a play about the exploitation of the American student and the predatory nature of the For Profit Educational system, for about three months. The show was hosted by Occupy Dayton and I was allowed to use the Occupy Dayton Community space which is located on 2720 E 3rd Street.
Now, I have to tell you, this neighborhood was tough. It had been hit by loss of industry and a stagnant economy. The only sign of life was the faint yellow glow of the Subway restaurant across the street. To be honest, I was so worried that nobody was going to attend the show. That was until I saw the group of people around the corner with signs and posters for my play. They had put together a FOR PROFIT work team with various artists; occupy members, and activists to promote the play and its message. We received such great feedback and reaction from my performances it was overwhelming. It speaks so highly of the people of Dayton, Occupy Dayton, and the selfless members of the FOR PROFIT work team.
I mean, on my last show to see people packed in to the basement of an old church laughing, crying, and following this story of mine was just incredible. Knowing that I had performed in an area that most people only talk about in their gated communities or at fundraisers on the other side of town. A community that politicians choose to visit when they need something.
Thanks to Occupy Dayton and the For Profit working team, I was able to put my money where my mouth was and perform theater for people who are actually affected by the issues I speak about.
It was the most rewarding set of performances I’ve experienced on my tour.
Member of Occupy Student Debt