What We're Reading: April 2018
As members of an organization that believes in the power of conversation to promote systemic change, the team here at The Lark often circulates, amongst
ourselves, anecdotes and emails about materials we've read lately that have moved us. In accordance with our commitment to the amplification of necessary voices that reflect the world we live in, this new, monthly post compiles some of the media we have been tuned in to, to share with our wider community. We know these are only a sampling of all the insightful work out there, so if we missed anything that had an impact on you this month, we encourage you to share in the comments section!
"...rather than approaching one-off D&I topics (e.g., unconscious bias) as isolated academic concepts, we teach people how to think about D&I issues using basic social justice frameworks and critical analysis skills. Think of our approach as learning how to read vs. having people brute-force memorize chapters of random books."
From the blog Awaken, a post on engaging in Diversity and Inclusion work on a more thoughtful and critical level.
Loving What You Hate When it Hates You, Too by A. Rey Pamatmat
"I actively try to quit theater every eight or nine years. Real- not being cute. But I find that of all of the things I can't quit, are the things that keep bringing me back to it. I cannot quit being a homosexual male. I cannot quit being a bi-cultural person of color. And so, I cannot stop talking about it. I cannot stop writing about it."
Playwright A. Rey Pamatmat's keynote address to the College Days attendees at the 42nd Annual Humana Festival of New American Plays.
I Have Cerebral Palsy and a Higher Sex Drive than You by Ryan Haddad
"I think that, as LGBT people, we feel so marginalized already that when we see people who are different within our own circle, we push them off to the side. We're trying to be normalized, and people don't look at a disability and think, normal. I'm normal. I'm just trying to exist in the world, and I need you to make space for me."
In an installment of the Huffington Post's series "Perspectives", theater maker Ryan Haddad, who shared an excerpt of his solo show Hi, Are You Single as part of The Apothetae and Lark's Telethon! 2016 blog series, discusses visibility of the Disabled community within the LGBTQ community.
The Nuances of Racism in Theatre School by Cindy Tsai
"During one coaching session, I asked for suggestions from a faculty member for new songs I should put in my audition book. The white faculty member asked if I had looked at The King and I. This suggestion had nothing to do with my voice range or my personality. This suggestion was given on the basis that I could play someone in The King and I, a show that portrays a group of Asian people as barbaric and exotic, then shows these people being indoctrinated with English culture. This advice was a shortcut – an excuse to see me as less than a full human being, as nothing more than my race. Thanks for the suggestion."
POWER (Protesting Oppression With Educational Reform), a group created and run by Emerson College students who identify as people of color, published this blog post on how one student's experience in a Musical Theater BFA program led her to discontinue her enrollment.
Will Theatre Leadership Remain White and Male? I Hope I’m Wrong by Claudia Alick
"I am not sure I want to invest my time in transforming your community and institution into greater sustainability. I am unsure I want to invest my spirit in maintaining the legacy and wealth of the historically white institutions. I know I can. I just don’t know if I want to."
An article for American Theatre exploring why, despite current, widespread turnover in leadership throughout the theatrical field, white and male perspectives still seem to dominate these opportunities.
Why I Can't Accept ADMISSIONS by Sara Holdren
"'If there are going to be new voices at the table, someone has to stand up and offer someone else his seat,' protests Charlie. But here’s Harmon, writing a play for five white actors being produced at Lincoln Center for a nearly all white audience, a play that’s claiming the plight of people of color as its cause even as it dexterously sidesteps them in its staging. Here’s a thought: If you’re a white person who genuinely believes white people ought to shut up for a while, then take your own advice."
A theater review for Vulture that questions the cultural competency of one production.