Tag Archives: HowlRound

Link Roundup! – 8/5/16

Link Roundups feature articles and bits of internet goodness that our dramaturgy team digs up. If you find something you want to send our way, drop us a line on Facebook or Twitter!

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IFThe Huffington Post has a story about the recent casting controversy surrounding a Chicago production of In The Heights:

The casting decision raises important questions about diversity and representation on the stage. When there already exist so few roles for Latinx performers, what does it say when the few roles that do exist go to white actors? In a musical that deals explicitly with the issue of gentrification as a theme, the casting seems especially mishandled.

In an interview with American Theatre, playwright and composer Quiara Alegría Hudes, who wrote the book for “In the Heights,” expressed her disappointment, describing how one of the main motivations behind the musical was to create complex, dynamic roles for Latinx actors when hardly any exist. “For decades, the vast majority of Latino roles were maids, gangbangers, etc,” she said. “It’s demoralizing, obnoxious, and reductive of an entire people. It’s a lie about who we are, how complicated our dreams and individuality are.”

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Oregon Shakespeare Festival has announced a new round of American Revolutions commissions:

The commissioned artists are the 1491s, Aditi Kapil, Basil Kreimendahl, Mona Mansour, Carlos Murillo, Susan Nussbaum, Robert O’Hara and Jiehae Park. Two of the commissions are in partnership with other theatres: the 1491s with New Native Theater in Minneapolis and Kreimendahl with Actors Theatre of Louisville.

“In this extremely important election year, we are so proud to welcome these extraordinary artists,” said American Revolutions Director Alison Carey. “We have a responsibility to history to tell it and a responsibility to the future to listen to history’s lessons.”

American Revolutions is a multi-decade program of commissioning and developing 37 new plays about moments of change in United States history. Launched in 2008, the last five plays will be commissioned in 2017, with the writing and development of the plays expected to last at least through 2027.

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Link Roundup! – 7/29/16

Link Roundups feature articles and bits of internet goodness that our dramaturgy team digs up. If you find something you want to send our way, drop us a line on Facebook or Twitter!

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Zelda Fichandler poses for a portrait inside the Arena Stage in 1990. (Lucian Perkins/The Washington Post)

Zelda Fichandler poses for a portrait inside the Arena Stage in 1990. (Lucian Perkins/The Washington Post)

The Washington post has a story on Zelda Fichandler, who co-founded Washington’s Arena Stage and just passed away at the age of 91:

Mrs. Fichandler helped will Arena Stage into being. A Cornell University graduate with a degree in Russian language and literature, she enrolled in a master’s of fine arts program at George Washington University in the late 1940s and confronted a drama teacher who bemoaned the lack of professional theater outside New York.

“So I said, ‘Why don’t we do something about that?’ Whimsically sealing my fate for the next 40 years,” she told the New York Times.

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HowlRound posted a lovely essay by friend of Company One, P. Carl:

Personal transformation is complicated and terrifying. It’s been a little surreal and sometimes seemingly indulgent to be transitioning as an individual in this dire social moment. We white liberals never imagined an overt white supremacist becoming a viable nominee for president of our country. It didn’t really occur to us, and at some levels feels like it just happened, out of nowhere. But as Claudia Rankine makes so clear in her wrenching book Citizen: An American Lyric, though the fiction of the facts may assume “innocence, lack of intention, misdirection,” the reality, as many people of color have known all along, is that white supremacy is nothing if not intentional, a plot with a clear objective, a plot cascading toward an endpoint, one we see in the numerous and “unbelievable” shootings and deaths of black men and women—black people in cars, on the ground with their hands up, in jail cells for no apparent reason.

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Link Roundup! – 5/13/16

Link Roundups feature articles and bits of internet goodness that our dramaturgy team digs up. If you find something you want to send our way, drop us a line on Facebook or Twitter!

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Julie Burros, Boston’s chief of arts and culture, during a Boston Creates town hall in March at Bunker Hill Community College. / Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe/file

Julie Burros, Boston’s chief of arts and culture, during a Boston Creates town hall in March at Bunker Hill Community College. / Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe/file

As reported in this week’s Boston Globe, the draft of the city’s Cultural Plan is now open to public comment — give your thoughts before the end of this weekend!

The draft plan describes five primary goals for arts and culture in the city, including creating “fertile ground” for the arts by encouraging the formation of more funding and venues for arts groups, supporting efforts and policies to keep individual artists in Boston, and cultivating a civic climate where all cultural traditions “are respected, promoted and equitably resourced.” Other overarching goals include integrating the arts throughout the city and creating partnerships to support the city’s arts and culture sector.

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HowlRound’s livestream of the Breaking the Binary symposium is now available to watch:

Breaking the Binary was conceived, organized, and will be hosted by Lisa Evans and SK Kerastas who recognize a strong need for education around this issue in our field—even amongst theatre professionals working from a social justice base. This past year alone there were multiple instances of well-intentioned theaters around the county receiving backlash from trans* communities for their handlings of productions with trans* material. Building on a national movement for equity in our work, SK and Lisa want to provide some holistic support to theatre organizations and artists making this kind of work.

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Link Roundup! – 5/6/16

Link Roundups feature articles and bits of internet goodness that our dramaturgy team digs up. If you find something you want to send our way, drop us a line on Facebook or Twitter!

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Photo By Dahlia Katz

Photo By Dahlia Katz

Now Toronto features an article about intimacy choreographers, who help design staged relationships the way a fight choreographer would design moments of violence:

“Some people would say, ‘Well, that’s just acting,’” Sina says, “but it really helps actors establish intimacy quickly and safely if they have techniques to help them find chemistry in the rehearsal process. They’re really effective in helping build relationships onstage – and not just sexual ones.”

Good directors will help the cast establish bonds of trust and mutual respect before attempting to stage difficult material, but with rehearsal periods getting shorter before shows open, actors can find themselves locking lips or exposing themselves or others with a bare minimum of preparation.

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HowlRound has a report on non-profit internships with a write up by Molly Marinik:

Those whose paid internships did not sufficiently cover their monthly expenses made ends meet in a variety of ways: by living with family, sleeping on friends’ couches, getting part-time jobs when time allowed, using savings, and receiving assistance from family. A handful signed up for food stamps, and some of the theatres even suggested this to the interns as a viable solution. It strikes me as ironic that federal arts funding in the United States is minimal compared with other leading nations, yet through other furtive methods the government winds up subsidizing artists anyway. But that’s another conversation.

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Link Roundup! – 4/22/16

Link Roundups feature articles and bits of internet goodness that our dramaturgy team digs up. If you find something you want to send our way, drop us a line on Facebook or Twitter!

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The Nerds of Color blog has a look at more recent nonsense with Hollywood casting:

If you keep giving movie roles to white people, even when those movies fail, then how do you justify the absurd notion that people of color in lead roles are a risky financial gamble? How is it possible that the Fast and Furious franchise has grossed $4 billion worldwide with nary any white people in the cast?

It’s because people in Hollywood will ignore the proof in front of them. The industry is racist and will do whatever it takes to prop up whiteness even when no one wants it. I appreciate that people are saying we should boycott Strange and Ghost when they come out, but I doubt that will make a difference. Tell me, when was the last time a whitewashed film was a box office success anyway? Exactly.

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NY Magazine’s The Cut has a feature about parenting as an artist:

The idea that writers, artists, inspired and creative people make bad spouses, parents, homemakers, partners is nothing new. It’s a trope that has served the (usually male) writers of the canon well. The mythology of the self-destructive artistic genius, the undomesticated bohemian, the visionary who is also, incidentally, or perhaps inevitably, a jerk, fundamentally unsuited for family life, goes back to the Marquis de Sade, and it’s not hard to think of 19th- and 20th-century examples: Byron is reported to have slept with 200 women in the course of one year, declaring after his wife gave birth to his first child that he was in hell, then impregnating his half-sister. Baudelaire longed for escape from “the unendurable pestering of the women I live with.” Verlaine tried to light his wife on fire. Hemingway married four women and after one ceremony reportedly asked a bartender for a glass of hemlock. Faulkner’s 12-year-old daughter once asked him to not drink on her birthday, and he refused, telling her, “No one remembers Shakespeare’s children.”

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Link Roundup! – 3/25/16

Link Roundups feature articles and bits of internet goodness that our dramaturgy team digs up. If you find something you want to send our way, drop us a line on Facebook or Twitter!

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Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff

Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff

The Boston Globe ran a story about local playwright and actor Melinda Lopez, who was mentioned in President Obama’s speech about Cuba earlier this week:

The president told of how, when Lopez traveled to Cuba and searched for her family’s old home, she had a chance encounter with an elderly woman who had been a neighbor of Lopez’s mother. The woman “recognized her as her mother’s daughter and began to cry” — later producing a baby photo that Lopez’s mother had taken of her infant daughter.

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The Chicago Tribune has a piece about the subscriber model in the arts and how it mirrors the newspaper business:

In this dilemma, nonprofit arts organizations are not unlike newspapers, such as this one, which are also striving to reinvent themselves for the digital age as their print subscription bases decline. As with the arts organizations, the media executives are trying to go where they think the puck is going, which means embracing the habits of millennials who consume individual stories (the newspaper’s equivalent of individual shows) from many different publications shared on social media. At the same time, the publications remain reliant on the revenue that comes from those still-colossal subscription bases.

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#StaffChat: The Jubilee

#StaffChat posts feature issues, articles, and news that the C1 team discusses as part of our weekly all-staff meeting. We’d love to hear your thoughts too — hit us up on Facebook or Twitter!

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This week our staff is examining The Jubilee — an initiative inviting theatres across the country to commit to producing only plays written by women, people of color, LGBTQA individuals, and writers with disabilities during the 2020–21 season.

Here are a few of the articles we’re talking about this week:

In the first HowlRound post, the committee of The Jubilee lays out their vision for the future of American theatre, along with quotes from some of the artists that are involved in the initiative. Aditi Kapil, the Playwright-In-Residence at Mixed Blood Theatre and a former C1 playwright, thinks about the intention of the project like this:

It’s like we’ve all been hanging out at this party and one guy keeps talking and talking, and now it’s 2020 (8:20 p.m. in this metaphor) and we decide that, just for a minute, everyone else is going to say stuff, respond, talk to each other, change the subject, whatever. And that goes on for a minute. And then it’s 2021. How might the conversation have shifted or evolved? And what happens now that we’re all talking? Because that’s generally when the party gets good, right? That’s what I wonder about. A lot.

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The companies that have already taken the Jubilee pledge are listed on HowlRound, but the invitation is still open to anyone who wants to join. Participants are invited to a weekly conference call to talk about how the project is going, but it’s worth noting that no one will be monitoring the companies that sign on or making sure each season fits the project’s goals — Jamie Gahlon explains this idea further in American Theatre:

“Right now, the role of the Jubilee committee is really to help amplify the fact that that institution has made the pledge,” says Jamie Gahlon, senior creative producer of HowlRound and Jubilee committee member. The 39 theatres who have signed on so far “are joining this huge national block party that we are having, more or less,” says Gahlon. “I think the responsibility for following through on the pledge and figuring out specifically what it means to that theatre or that community really falls on the person who has signed on. I don’t think anyone on this committee wants to be policing any of that, we don’t feel like that is our role.”

This announcement has stirred up quite a bit of conversation online, with lots of questions being raised, as well as a fair amount of negative response from people who feel the initiative is exclusionary. In response to criticism Catherine Castellani posted a follow up on HowlRound:

I’ve read responses to Jubilee that actually state that systemic sexism/racism is OK because no one flat out comes out and says No “You People” Allowed. You’re free to say it; that’s your right. But the rest of America is not going away. You get to choose your response to change. You can attack your fellow artists, or you can do something else—something positive and worthwhile.

You don’t have to be an ally. But don’t be an enemy.

We’re going to spend some time talking about a few of the questions raised in response to Jubilee at the upcoming staff meeting. Here’s a few to get us started in advance:

  • – If C1 were to take the Jubilee pledge, how would our 2020/2021 season look different from our usual seasons?
  • – How would theatre in Boston be different if C1 joined Jubilee?
  • – What artists would you want to see produced in a Jubilee year?
  • – Jubilee specifically focus on the identity of playwrights — how do you think that does or does not change the conversation about equity in theatre?

Link Roundup! – 10/9/15

Link Roundups feature articles and bits of internet goodness that our dramaturgy team digs up. If you find something you want to send our way, drop us a line on Facebook or Twitter!

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Huntington Theatre Company artistic director Peter DuBois, left, and managing director Michael Maso in front of the BU Theatre.  Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff

Huntington Theatre Company artistic director Peter DuBois, left, and managing director Michael Maso in front of the BU Theatre. Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff

The Boston Globe has a story about this week’s big news regarding the partnership between Boston University and the Huntington Theatre:

After 33 years, Boston University and the Huntington Theatre Company are parting ways, and the university is putting the BU Theatre up for sale, effective immediately. For the highly regarded Huntington, which just two years ago won a Tony Award for regional theater, the dissolution of the partnership with BU ushers in a period of uncertainty.

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Early career director Lucy Gram’s musings in HowlRound about life as an “emerging” artist are great:

Remember, as difficult as it is to make a life in the theatre, it is something I am lucky to be pursuing. What I am pursuing isn’t a career, or “success,” or a title. It’s an artistic practice. It’s a lens through which to look at life; a platform on which to ask questions about the world we know and create visions of worlds we have so far only imagined.

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Link Roundup! – 9/25/15

Link Roundups feature articles and bits of internet goodness that our dramaturgy team digs up. If you find something you want to send our way, drop us a line on Facebook or Twitter!

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Joy Mead’s great article about unconscious bias for American Theatre is a must-read:

Implicit biases can lead us to interpret plays by female and nonwhite writers through the lens of our stereotypes, which can impair our ability to see them accurately. Scientists who study cognition have found that stereotypes prime us with expectations and assumptions, and then confirmation bias motivates us to focus on anything that confirms our preconceptions and overlook the rest.

There are regular examples of this dynamic in theatre. For example, in a recent Boston Globe review of A. Rey Pamatmat’s Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them at Company One Theatre, critic Jeffrey Gantz wished the Filipino-American characters’ “culture [was] on display” and complained “it seems odd they have no racial problems at school.” Gantz assumed the playwright’s identity was the most relevant context for his work and looked so hard for the play he expected that he missed the one actually before him. Playwright Mike Lew calls this phenomenon the “anthropological gaze,” noting that it can be a serious obstacle to production.  “How do you distinguish the singularity of your voice when your voice isn’t really being heard to begin with?” Lew asks.

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Speaking of A. Rey Pamatmat, his recent 2amt post is also another good read about representation on stage:

If you’re telling me the only way to preserve an enduring work of art is by performing it in a way that is racist and outdated, then you’re telling me that white supremacy is so central to the work that it’s not an enduring piece of art. Enduring art can be revisited and reconceived to speak to people of a different time and in a different context than the ones in which it was created — you know, it can endure. Frankly, I don’t believe white supremacy is so central to the works of Gilbert and Sullivan or to The Mikado specifically that it’s reworking would mean nothing of value would be left in the show. It could be produced in a way that speaks to the broader audience of people that make up New York theatregoers. The most important thing to preserve in The Mikado is not the fact that it was conceived from ideas of white supremacy in a time and place of unchallenged white supremacy. The important things to preserve are catchy tunes and some poo jokes.

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Link Roundup! – 9/11/15

Link Roundups feature articles and bits of internet goodness that our dramaturgy team digs up. If you find something you want to send our way, drop us a line on Facebook or Twitter!

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KQED has a story about how the arts can make people more empathetic:

“The arts act as an antidote to that estrangement,” Zaki added, “[and] provide you with a very low risk way of entering worlds and lives and minds that are far from what you would normally experience.”

One study found that reading literature, but not junk fiction, increases a person’s ability to be empathetic.  Though Zaki wondered “does reading make you more empathetic, or does being more empathetic make you want to read more fiction?”

People, and some animals, come into the world ready for empathy, because we’re born with what are called mirror neurons. And Zaki believes the arts can stimulate those neurons.

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On HowlRound, playwright Kira Obolensky talks about how writing for a specific audience has changed her process:

Hayley: I love this notion of “casting” the audience into the piece. Imagining them. And that’s been a shift for you in this residency, even though you’ve written for Ten Thousand Things before.

Kira: I think I’m getting better at it. And I think it is making my plays better. I think, actually, if every playwright—even if they didn’t have access to these amazing audiences—were to think about their plays with a bigger range of humanity in mind for receiving their play, we would have a canon of beautiful, complicated expressions of the world we live in.

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