Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Time be talking those segregation blues

I read a couple of things today and it wrapped up some things that I have been saying for a few weeks in a nice neat bundle. It was at the PACT Region 5 meeting where I broached the idea that integration in theatre was not working and perhaps we should give some serious thought to segregation. This, as to be expected, did not go over like a nice iced mocha. The idea of segregation seems to rip some liberal correctness buttons and for that I think we should expect that and then get over it.
When questioned about this idea I responded by saying that there are already any number of theatres that do complete seasons without a single non-white face of the stage. It may be their art but it is also de-facto artistic segregation. So why don't we just admit that and move on. Let the Euro-centric theatre produce what they feel comfortable in producing and lets work to build up the diverse theatres so that we can produce what we need to produce, in our own venues and without curatorial assessment by the rental venues.

The Mission Paradox blog is the entry point but the real money is:

Michael Kaiser, of the Kennedy Center, on diversity:

"I have been spending a great deal of time thinking about the issue of diversity in the arts, specifically, the drive to diversify the programming and constituents of all arts organizations.

The more I consider this thorny issue, the less I am convinced that the arts world has worked hard enough to dissect the true costs, benefits and implications of recent diversity efforts.

I love it when he talks about selecting the "low hanging fruit". The phrase always reminds me of Billie Holiday and:

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sunday Quickies

The Cape Town Opera Company has a touring production of Porgy and Bess that is set in Soweto. Here is a preview from the Cardiff Centre and here is a review.

Meanwhile Alexander McCall Smith has created The Okavango Macbeth. Maccers as seen through a tribe of baboons. A review is here.

A bit of a retrospective of the work of Neil Simon and just for contrast an article about Throwing Rotten Veggies at the Actors Night

Rethinking arts economies and arts exchange

Some thoughts on Miking Actors in Straight Plays

For the last item I sure am on the fence about using mikes in a straight play. The recent production of Secrets of a Black Boy used them at the Music Hall and I would love to know why that choice was made. It could be that the actors did not have the vocal capacity to fill that space or simply it is an unfillable space without augmentation.
On the other hand I have had trouble hearing actors on the Festival Stage at Stratford. So is vocal training not up to snuff anymore or have we moved to a more naturalistic style of theatre that is better served by mikes.

The debate continues.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

A truly brilliant speech about perception. the single story and how it can shape our world view.

This is the best 18 minutes you can spend today.

The single story

h/t A. Payne

Friday, October 23, 2009

Canonize This! Day 3

From left to right: Philip Akin {Artistic Director}, ahdri zhina mandiela, Miranda Edwards {reader}, Donna Michelle St. Bernard, d'bi young anitafrika, Dian Marie Bridge { Host}, Motion and Joseph Jomo Pierre.

Tonight was the final evening of Canonize This! And despite the rain and flood and traffic that never quit, everyone made it to the theatre and a great time was had by all. Many thanks to all who made it out.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Canonize This! - Day 2

Thursday nights group of playwrights are from left to right:
Dian Marie Bridge (host), Sharon Lewis, Nicole Brooks, George Boyd, Joan M. Kivanda and Djennie Laguerre

Friday is our final evening. Come on out if you can.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Canonize This! Day 1

So here are the fine group of playwrights that read tonight at Canonize This! Day 1. From left to right: Marcia Johnson, Sarah Michelle Brown, Darren Anthony, Michael Miller and Dian Marie Bridge.

Day 2 begins at 1pm, Harlem restaurant. All the info is here at http://www.obsidian-theatre.com/canonizethis.html

Sunday, October 18, 2009

AWG and Playwrighting Groups

If you are a playwright then run don't walk to this link and have a good read.

Canadian Theatre Blogs?

Google Reader had a Canadian Theatre Blogs Feed set up by Ian MacKenzie. It has seemingly discorporated or something. I get a "permission denied" error when I try to access it. Does anyone else get this or has the management of the feed changed?

Give me a shout if you have any info. I did enjoy using the Reader to catch up on what had been newly posted.


Sunday Quickies - Massive Edition

No real theme to the links so I am grouping them into countries.

Lets start right here at home with the Siminovitch nominees. And for more info on the Nominees. Ummm just have to say that the invite this year was pretty ugly. It was not good design by any means.

Moving southwards we come across great thoughts by Elizabeth Streb {follow the links in that article as well}and Anna Deavere Smith. A couple of interesting ideas regarding a Twitter campaign and Talk Backs but really the prize article for me is the one about combining the play with selling the props at every show so that things keep changing.
Now it wouldn't be theatre without some controversy so here is a dose of that.

Heading across the Atlantic we get Judi Dench putting the hurt on young actors, David Mamet as a diminishing playwright, the RSC to relaunch its development studio and some thoughts on the hybridization of film and theatre.

And even though it isn't theatre who could resist a story about Nazi gnomes? Certainly not me.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Austin Clarke - Toronto Book Awards

I just read where Austin Clarke has just won the Toronto Book Award for his novel "More".

I had the privilege of working with Austin as we brought his novel The Polished Hoe to the stage in 2007

Congratulations Austin.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Sarah Ruhl

Ok ...I do like Sarah Ruhl's play "Dead Man's Cellphone" a ton. I would love to produce it sometime in the near future. Ok maybe next year if other plan's don't work out.

Here is a article on Ms. Ruhl on the opening of DMC in Boston.

99 Seats

I added a new blog to my blog list tonight. It's 99 Seats. An interesting blog by an anonymous black playwright. He has been delving deep into some of the issues that were brought up by Roy Williams in the Guardian a week or so ago. I have a link back a couple of posts.

Some interesting reading. Go and ignore the white on black text. It's worth the effort

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Voaden Awards

I few weeks ago I was asked to present this year's Voaden Awards at Queens University in Kingston.

Here is a great explanation of how this award works and the winners.

It was great to be able to listen to the readings and to get involved with some insightful questions.

Gas Girls by Donna Michelle St. Bernard will be getting a production in November 5-14 at the Passe Muraille Backspace. This is one to check out for sure.

The superb quality of Tom's-a-Cole by David Egan will most probably be on a stage near you in the quickly approaching future.

Finally a thought about the whole Voaden thing. I was thrilled to be asked and happy to make the drive down on a beautiful fall day to Kingston. Where I was disappointed though was that while the two plays had been thoroughly worked on over the week and delivered fine performances on the day there was very little hoopla or props about the event. Kind of anti-hoopla if you will. It felt more of just a quiet, low key, lets not make any big fuss kind of an event. And that was a shame. The plays were great and the playwrights deserved big props. It would have been nice if the whole event had been swanked up a notch or two.

Just saying.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A shot of culture

From the Globe and Mail:

“Germany is experimenting with a revolutionary kind of preventive medicine: Doctors are prescribing culture for children,”
Isabelle de Pommereau writes in a Christian Science Monitor blog. “In one region in the state North Rhine-Westphalia, every child ages seven through 15 who goes to the pediatrician for a checkup walks out with two free tickets to the theatre. The Culture Shot program aims at encouraging pediatricians to support children's ‘physical, emotional and intellectual health,' says Hermann-Josef Kahl, the Dusseldorf pediatrician who spearheaded the idea in his city. It rests on a simple idea: Culture fosters better health habits. ‘It's cultural primary prevention,' says Dr. Kahl. ‘We hope to establish an impulse that shows that opening the door to culture paves the way to better education level, and that better education fosters a healthier way of life.

h/t J. Knappen