I had the immense pleasure of performing One Drop of Love for over 300 students at Choate Rosemary Hall last weekend in Connecticut. Here is one of my favorite quotes from one of the students, and a link to the full review:
I’ve seen a lot of white struggle stories, and a lot of black struggle stories, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a mixed struggle story. Zemia Edmondson ’16. http://thenews.choate.edu/article/getting-race-y-pmac#sthash.VGQFeIAj.dpuf
Sarah Rutherford is a British playwright married to a Jamaican man and raising mixed children. Her new play Adult Supervision, a dramedy, was influenced by conversations she’s had with others about her children and husband (both alarming and encouraging). Adult Supervision explores what happens when a group of mothers gathers to celebrate President Obama’s election. Here’s a quote from the article on representing mixedness in theatre:
Do you think theatre has been shy addressing issues of multiculturalism?
I guess I’ve become very used to seeing certain issues addressed in relation to race: drugs, gangs, all that. Of course they’re more than valid subjects for drama, but what I don’t see on stage is people like me and my friends and family. When there was an outcry about Danny Boyle‘s depiction of a happy, educated, middle-class mixed-race family in the Olympic ceremony, I was aghast at the claims that such families don’t exist. We’re probably one of the fastest-growing demographics in the country; yet we’re pretty much invisible in the media and especially on stage.
A Nice Indian Boy – Word Premiere
February 20 – March 23, 2014
The second place winner of the East West Players Face of the Future Playwriting Competition. The Supreme Court Ruling on gay marriage has been decided, and this play is timely in continuing the discussion. A comedy about love and marriage, Naveen Gavaskar and Keshav Kurundkar share all things Indian – from the Hindi language to the difficulty of being gay in Indian culture. Keshav, however, is adopted by Indian parents…and Caucasian.
Jude Narita is a renowned solo performance artist whose plays address the Asian and Asian American experience. Her most famous play Coming Into Passion/Song for Sansei was awarded a number of important distinctions: The LA Drama Critics Award, a Drama-Logue Award, the James Wong Howe Award and the VESTA Award. Take a look at her website for more details on when she is performing (she also teaches!): http://www.judenarita.com/
This looks like a great solo show on the Mixed immigrant experience – it won the 2012 and 2013 United Solo Festival Awards for Best Comedic Performance and Best Comedic Script.
Award winning writer/performer Frank Ingrasciotta gives a tour-de-force performance in this humorous and heart-warming one-man play. Blood Type: RAGU is a coming-of-age story exploring the first-generation American’s delicate dance between culture and identity.
Click the link for more info: http://www.bloodtyperagu.com/about/
If you are a theater actor, playwright, or crew member in Los Angeles, this event is integral to your career:
“Theater leaders in Southern California will convene for a second panel on racial diversity that will serve as a sequel of sorts to last year’s discussion hosted by East West Players in downtown Los Angeles.
The upcoming panel will be held Dec. 16 at 7:30 p.m. at the Pasadena Playhouse. While last year’s event was by invitation only, the upcoming discussion is free and open to the public.
Panelists expected to attend include Michael Ritchie, artistic director of Center Theatre Group; Marc Masterson, artistic director of South Coast Repertory; Sheldon Epps, artistic director of the Pasadena Playhouse; Tim Dang, artistic director of East West Players; and Jessica Kubzansky, co-artistic director of the Theatre @ Boston Court.”
Click below for the full article:
This is a wonderful opportunity for high school aged storytellers (grades 10, 11, 12) in LA/Ventura/Orange/San Bernardino Counties. Students of all backgrounds and abilities are invited to apply – but the deadline is MONDAY, OCTOBER 7, 2013! Break a leg!
Click here for application materials: http://www.centertheatregroup.org/augustwilson?utm_source=mail2&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=EmailSBOpeningNightPhotos
Annie Bosh is Missing is a new play by Janine Nabers that takes place in Houston when Katrina refugees are placed there to rebuild their lives. Their arrival upsets the ‘racial’ status quo in Houston – most especially for the play’s protagonists who have before then not strongly identified with ‘blackness.’ You can read a longer synopsis HERE.
We’ll update this post as more appearance dates are added – and let us know if you have the chance to see the show!
I’ve been looking forward to reading the reviews from this new production for a while. It’s not the first time a director has cast R & J as an interracial couple. There was an Ovation Award-winning version at the Theater at Boston Court here in LA a few years ago taking place in the antebellum south, and I’m certain many a college and small independent theater has addressed ‘race’ in their productions. But this is Broadway – and a Broadway show has the potential for impact on a large scale. So I was intrigued when I learned that film star Orlando Bloom (Lord of the Rings, Pirates of the Caribbean) and the emerging theater star Condola Rashad (nominated for a Tony for Trip to Bountiful, daughter of film and theater actor Phylicia Rashad) would be playing the tragic lovers. How would the director, David Leveaux, address the Mixed experience in this production? How might audiences react to the casting of a ‘white’ man falling fatally in love with a ‘black’ woman (an atypical depiction of an interracial couple in contemporary media). The New York Times review mentions ‘race’ in a brief paragraph: “That one of them is white and the other black may underscore the division between their families, yet it registers as irrelevant when they’re together.”
It’s not clear whether the reviewer sees this irrelevance as a good or bad thing, but it disappoints me. I’m still waiting for a production that takes on historical racial oppression. Even in the comments to the review, there is barely any mention of how this production addresses ‘race.’ In fact, I would suggest that some commenters’ opinions that the lead actors lacked chemistry may have more to do with their own discomfort in seeing intimacy by an interracial couple, than in the performances by the actors.
Granted, Shakespeare’s play is so well known that really addressing the behemoth that is racism will take skill, creativity and indefatigable research by a director and cast, but until then I am going to watch for the independent theaters and college presentations – who just may have more courage to do so.
Do you live in AZ or know someone who does? Make sure to check out The Black Theater Troupe’s production of Wedding Band. There are shows Sept 19 at 2pm, Sept 20 at 8pm, Sept 21 at 2pm and 8pm and Sept 22 at 3pm.
Wedding Band is the story of an interracial couple in 1918. Near the end of World War 1, Julia a black woman and Herman a Jewish baker are deeply in love. They have been together for 10 years, despite the very real threat of arrest and criminal punishment under the laws of South Carolina for any interracial couple who marry or live together.
Here is the website to reserve tickets: