Link Roundup! – 9/18/15
In American Theatre, Teresa Eyring talks about the Midnight Run in London:
The brainchild of the London-based Nigerian poet and playwright Inua Ellams, the Midnight Run is now in its 10th year and has been replicated in 4 other cities. In this anniversary year, groups of 30 or more people gathered at theatres in South, North, East, and West London (the Albany, the Roundhouse, the Almeida, and the Bush). Each group was populated with a facilitator and several artists. The facilitators’ jobs were to map out a journey through their assigned sections of London. Artists, who were part of our group, gave workshops along the way. Participants experienced parks, churchyards, secret pathways, and businesses they wouldn’t have otherwise seen—or seen in this manner. Rory Bowens, an assistant studio manager at NTS (Nuts to Soup radio), conducted interviews and captured sounds. A story was broadcast at midnight. Meanwhile, Katie Garrett filmed the experience. Honoring UNESCO’s International Year of Light, 50 percent of the proceeds went to provide sustainable lighting to a women’s center in Senegal.
Bitter Gertrude’s game of Racist Art Apologia Bingo is worth reading in light of another maddening casting controversy, this involving The New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players’ production of The Mikado:
The main problem with the “preserving ART” argument is that racism and racist caricatures had one cultural context in the Victorian (or Elizabethan, or Classical, or what you will) era, and have completely different contexts now. Fighting to preserve a racist work as written most often vandalizes that work’s original intent. The racist symbol was created to convey a meaning it can no longer convey. Yellowface can no longer convey the meaning Gilbert originally intended when writing The Mikado because that meaning has been superceded by a modern understanding of yellowface’s inherent racism. Even if you believe the yellowface in The Mikado means “Victorians are racist; isn’t that funny?” it can never mean that to an audience in 2015 because yellowface is read as racist in and of itself, and stomping your feet and insisting that Gilbert’s intent was completely different does exactly nothing to change that.
For a good Friday laugh, check out The New Yorker’s Director’s Note:
Our company was founded on the idea that theatre can transport us to different worlds, worlds where magic is possible, and people under the age of fifty see plays. We remain dedicated to bold and audacious shows—from our all-mime production of “The Sound of Music,” to our production of the never-before-staged Stephen Sondheim document ” ‘Into the Woods’ Dramatist Guild Licensing Contract,” to our production of “King Lear” that took place in the high-stakes world of a Shakespeare in the Park production of “King Lear.”
NPR wonders how boring bios for classical musicians in show programs could be spiced up, and the questions certainly apply to theatre programs as well:
If you don’t mind a bit of rather crass marketing speak, this is an opportunity to shape one’s personal brand. In my experience, classical artists often pride themselves on not having to debase themselves for the sake of commerce. Maybe that’s part and parcel of existing so far outside the musical mainstream. But what such artists fail to recognize, in my opinion, is that this can be not just a marketing exercise but a chance for a bit of self-reflection. What makes what you do — and what you want to express — meaningful?