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What We're Reading: April 2021

What We're Reading
Scattered newspapers and magazines rest on a wood surface.

As members of an organization that believes in the power of conversation to promote systemic change, the team here at The Lark often circulates, among 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 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!

Art at Work: Class Consciousness and the Transformation of the World

By Chris Myers

"Our job, as theatremakers, isn’t just about the creative talents of the artists we center, but all the folks in the building: cleaning staff, maintenance workers, security, and operations. What if we saw things not just from the angle of production but of labor? Of people and the freedom they desire but do not yet possess? What if, instead of invisibilizing these folks, we understood the immensity of labor required to make a play, beyond the creative team? Administration and management, out of a democratic listening, can become sites of community expression. Over the course of this recalibration, we would necessarily find that our art begins to reflect the world more as it is or, at least, how we really see it, instead of reflecting the world through the tastes and desires of elites who ostensibly fund and shape art production under capitalism."

Invisibility and Objectification Can Kill: American Theatre’s Anti-Asian Problem

By Diep Tran

"When you sexualize an Asian woman without giving her agency or a personality, when you make her a vessel for white guilt, you contribute to stereotypes about Asian women. You make her invisible. You make her less than human. And when she is murdered in Atlanta, you can dismiss her as “temptation.” See how easily that excuse of the killer was taken up by the police and parroted by the media. America would rather see Asians as objects and stereotypes, in part because that’s what American popular culture has been giving them."

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back: Broadway’s Jagged Little Journey Toward Nonbinary Inclusion

By Christian Lewis

"With so few trans and nonbinary roles in the American musical theater canon, it is essential they are always played by trans and nonbinary actors. Having more trans and nonbinary roles and having them played by trans and nonbinary actors would not only provide some much needed representation, but also would pave the way for nonbinary stories having a place on Broadway. Taking this a step further, trans and nonbinary people should be the ones telling the stories; we should be prioritizing work by trans and nonbinary people about trans and nonbinary people. Put simply, trans and nonbinary people deserve agency over how they are represented on stage."

Does Your Arts Organization Deserve to Come Back?

by Bryan Joseph Lee

"Dismantling racism and injustice isn’t easy. But if your organization hasn’t made visible strides to address supremacy and harassment, and if your systems and structures are just as imbalanced and unequal and harmful as they were before the shutdown, do you really deserve to come back?"

"Humanity Is More Important than My Bank Account"

Karen Olivo

"Building a better industry for my students is more important than me putting money in my pockets."

In this Instagram video, Karen explains why they will not be returning to Moulin Rouge!, and calls out the theater industry for its silence around Scott Rudin and the field's inequitable structure.