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Playing for Team Human today is playwright, actor, director, writer, and teacher Jessica Blank. Jessica shares her insights into the process of building empathy through story. Through works such as her documentary plays The Exonerated and Aftermath, Jessica’s characters stare their audience directly in the eye, reach out to their heart, and open a pathway for transformation. This, Jessica explains, is the magic of being in shared space with people embodying real, human stories — press play above to listen to the episode.

Learn about her creative process, how she finds that opening for empathy, and how we might retrieve those human-scale stories that are charged with the empathic power to bring about social change.

Douglas opens the show with a monologue asking, “Is the nationalist, xenophobic, inward-turned America we’ve been projecting to the world as of late the real US?”

On this episode, you heard Fugazi’s “Foreman’s Dog” in the intro, Herkhimer Diamonds “Xmas Underwater” midway through, and our closing music is thanks to Mike Watt.