September 30, 2010

I wanna see your shining faces

Over at Ars Marginal.

Seriously, all that discussion about diversity and all, and none of you are at the blog devoted to it?

Am I gonna have to use my African Hoodoo Mumbo Jumbo* on you?

* Just in case some people Googled "African Hoodoo Mumbo Jumbo" hoping to find spells or something. Yeah, might wanna check that.

September 28, 2010

The Art of Calling Out *-ist Bullshit

A lot of people struggle with what to say when someone in their company says some fucked up *-ist bullshit. They want to say something in a way that makes it clear that what that person said was wrong and why.

You want to be respectful. You want to sound erudite and educated. You don't want to hurt their feelings. (Despite the fact that they already hurt you by saying fucked up bullshit). But really, sometimes that just doesn't work. So, to give you a model to work from, I offer you this:

September 23, 2010

Thinking about talkbacks

I don't usually enjoy talkbacks. There, I said it. It's not about hating my audience or anything like that, but I generally don't get much out of them. I don't get much out of it artistically because I don't rewrite according to what people like or don't like, particularly with regards to content or subject matter. I don't get much out of it personally because being the center of attention for that long, and for a work that is still in progress, it's unrealistic for anyone (including me) to expect me to be "sufficiently detached" from my work to expect me to be receptive to criticism without being discouraged by it. So I'm in this weird position of having to decide between accepting everything or ignoring everything - and if I ignore everything, what's the point of wasting anybody's time with a talkback?

Frankly, most talkbacks feel like something that artists do because they want to say that they care what the audience thinks. A connection between people or a deeper engagement with the work is pretty rare. For the most part, they just come, leave their $0.02, and leave. It's the rare audience member who uses talkbacks as an opportunity to get better acquainted with a particular piece or a company (like I did for The Cell Theatre through Blackboard Plays).

I do believe that most artists genuinely want to hear from the audience about what their work does for them. It's just that they see talkback as part of the play development process when it seems much better suited as a tool for audience development.

Think about it. In what other part of a play's process is the audience so intimately involved? In what other part of a play's process can the audience make so direct a connection not only with us artists, but with each other? Even during opening night, the most you'll get from an audience is that they come in, watch the show, then leave without talking to anyone for longer than about 5 minutes. And after that they might write an article or a blog post reviewing the performance.

What a waste!

There's so much more you can do than the typical talkback format. How about instead of taking 20 minutes or half an hour to tell the artists how to make their art, transform the generic talkback into a roundtable - complete with snacks and refreshments? How would that change the dynamic of audience members giving their reactions to a work?

That's sort of what I'm planning for the birthday party after the staged reading of Tulpa, or Anne&Me. I'd much rather watch a discussion amongst audience members about the things the play brings up and what that means for the audience as opposed to them asking me a bunch of questions. As much as I love writer crack, talking about myself does get boring. I'm far more interested in watching the audience wrestle with the work and bring that struggle out to each other - not in a combative or aggressive way, but with a frankness that the work hopes to encourage. What good is it for a piece to say, "We need to have these conversations" and follow up by not having them?

We need more dads like this

And kudos for James Jones teaching his daughter that Black women are worth protecting. Could you imagine what James Jones would've done if Nita Hanson ("Jade") was his child? Let's just say that call to Dr. Laura would not be necessary.

September 19, 2010

Somebody wrote about Tulpa!!!

Check out what Jasmin, Llena de Gracia has to say about Tulpa, or Anne&Me:

It is really good. And this is from a literature major who's not all that into plays, mostly because of the flowery language, which RVCBard deliberately avoids. My favorite scene--the last one in the first act--is particularly powerful, and part of it is so eerily similar to the recent Dr. Laura debacle that it gave me goosebumps to read it. As far as the overall content, what kept me interested was that it wasn't constructed as a contrived sit-in-a-circle-kumbayah moment. The conversations are fragmented and disjointed, just as they would be in real life, and they leave the reader vaguely dissatisfied, not at the writer for structuring them that way, but at the fact that these conversations are reflections of real life. I'm excited that it's the first in a 3-part series, because I wanted more at the end...but I wasn't exactly sure what I wanted more of.


While I'm busy smoking this writer-crack, check out the open discussion happening at Ars Marginal and join in. I've got some questions for you, and if you have them for me, that's cool too.

September 16, 2010

no words . . .

You ever seen something so fucked up that you can't even get mad? You ever seen something so beyond the fucking pale that you can't even muster up an emotional response?

This is one of those things.

As Josh would say, "I love the South."

The fucked up thing about this is that if I decided to use this as a fundraiser for Tulpa, or Anne&Me, I'd probably make thousands of dollars.

In the meantime, save the date for November 12! Oh, and check out the open discussion going on at Ars Marginal.

September 13, 2010

Black theatre lives (feat. Black Fest)

Do you know about Black Fest? No? You should.

Black Fest is sort of what Crossroads Theatre Project is all about. While the focus and scope are different, the idea is the same: expanding and elevating what people imagine as "minority" theatre.

And Black Fest is not alone. There are: Liberation Theatre Company, The Hansberry Project, and 651 Arts. Not to mention Freedom Train Productions and Blackboard Plays.

So what are you waiting for? Check us out and tell your friends!

September 12, 2010

September 11, 2010

Playwright vs. crack whore

Lewis Black on writers and "writers" and blahhhgs! Oh, and why you should kill your child if they say they want to be a playwright (Answer: Because being a crack whore pays better).

September 9, 2010

How to do it wrong

I normally enjoy Racialicious, I really do, but this time they dropped the ball. Rather than spell out exactly what's fucked up about it (because it's been said enough times by me and other people), I'll leave it to you, dear reader, to use your native intelligence to discern what is amiss.

Read this (including the comments) and this (including the comments).

And go here if you're still can't put your finger on it.

September 2, 2010

Save the date: November 12

I'm going to do something on Friday, November 12.

I can't tell you where it will be or exactly what will happen, but it will hopefully involve cake, ice cream, fun and games, and a staged reading of Tulpa, or Anne&Me. So I'm giving you a heads up 2 months in advance so you can make sure your ass is there.