UNC Hosts Stage Adaptation of Common Book Assignment 'Eating Animals'

Ashley Thorne

This fall the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill hosted several events related to its common reading assignment, Eating Animals, by Jonathan Safran Foer. The book is a non-fiction argument by the author in favor of not eating animals, primarily because of his compunctions over their treatment in factory farms.

Not one that especially lends itself to stage adaptation, I'd think, but it looks like UNC students made do with rubber chickens, dance, and multimedia in a multi-performance play this month. The adapter and director, UNC professor of communication studies Tony Perucci, said, "As much as this show intends to be a critical reflection on how we engage with daily practices, it's also intended to be abundantly silly and absurd. And beautiful."

In October UNC sponsored as guest speaker animal activist Gene Bauer, who "told his audience there are no humane ways to raise animals for food." The News & Observer reported that "None challenged Baur at the UNC-CH gathering." At least one reader of the News & Observer, however, disapproved of the uncritical coverage of Baur's presentation.

Two other institutions, Duke University and St. Michael's College in Vermont, also chose Eating Animals as common reading assignments this year, as documented in NAS's report Beach Books: What Do Colleges and Universities Want Students to Read Outside Class?

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