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In the Field

Nevada Humanities Chautauqua features the "sinners" along with the "saints"

May 15, 2012 | By Federal/State Partnership Staff

Many historical characters are popularly seen as either heroes or villains, saints or sinners. The truth is far more complex. In Greek tragedy, the antagonist may have many virtues, but it is a single fatal flaw that destroys him or her. Understanding the complexity and nuanced reality of a person’s life is far more interesting than the labels of good or evil we might apply.

This year, Nevada Humanities tackles the complex lives of historical figures with the 2012 Nevada Humanities Chautauqua: Saints and Sinners festival, June 25 – 28, at the Robert Z. Hawkins Amphitheater in Reno, Nevada. Each night begins with a musical performance featuring a local band. Music starts at 6:00 p.m., and Chautauqua performances begin at 7:00 p.m. Parking is plentiful and free.

Tickets to the Chautauqua are on sale now: seat tickets: $25 per night or $60 per three-day pass; lawn tickets: $10 per night

Nevada Humanities Chautauqua blends the insightful depth of historical research with the fun of theatrical entertainment. The Chautauqua format is simple: a performer, in the guise of a historical figure, such as Mark Twain or Thomas Jefferson, tells “first-hand” stories about important episodes in the character’s life. After the monologue, the audience and performer engage in a lively give and take. Finally, the performer emerges from character to respond to questions that could not be answered in character. Nevada Humanities Chautauqua was created by Nevada Humanities in Reno in 1992 and is one of the longest running Chautauqua festivals in the country.