Donate Now

What We're Reading: August 2019

What We're Reading

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!


by Christina Quintana (CQ)

"I should probably mention that I loved this play. I believed it was the most important thing I would ever write, a story about the resilience of my hometown, the show that high school theatre kids would blast from car stereos, the piece that would change my career... And so, I told myself that it would all be worth it. I could hold on. I could stick it out. Just a couple more years… That’s what I thought until I couldn’t think it anymore."

Playwright and former Van Lier New Voices Fellow at The Lark, Christina Quintana (CQ) shares this piece on the gendered dynamics of dissolving a toxic creative partnership.

‘What the Constitution Means to Me’ Is Setting a Theatrical Precedent

by Diep Tran

"Instead of bringing artists together, matchmaker-style, to adapt a movie (a process that naturally shuts out marginalized voices), producers would do better to travel to Brooklyn or regional theatres and see what artists are making. Constitution began in an 89-seat theatre in the East Village, and arose out of Schreck’s need to process her own traumatic family history.  Hadestown began as a community music-theatre project in Vermont... Both are hits because they’re damn good shows which would not work as well in any other medium..." 

On the myth that plays by people of color and women won't sell tickets on Broadway.

Black, Queer, and Here

by Marcus Scott

"What makes these plays radical is their candor, addressing the audience with frank depictions of queer Black life. Most importantly, these are plays that are creating discourse on what artist Lora Mathis calls radical softness, or 'the idea that unapologetically sharing your emotions is a political move and a way to combat the societal idea that feelings are a sign of weakness.'"

With a focus on Michael R. Jackson's A Strange Loop, Marcus Scott's article in American Theatre takes a look at the current surge of nuanced work being done by Black and Queer artists.

The Dominance of the White Male Critic

by Elizabeth Méndez Berry and Chi-hui Yang

"This matters because culture is a battleground where some narratives win and others lose. Whether we believe someone should be locked in a cage or not is shaped by the stories we absorb about one another, and whether they’re disrupted or not. At a time when inequality and white supremacy are soaring, collective opinion is born at monuments, museums, screens and stages — well before it’s confirmed at the ballot box."

This piece comes from The New York Times Opinion section but it sure feels like fact to us!

Native Wisdom: A Review of Edgar Villanueva’s 'Decolonizing Wealth'

by Michael Seltzer

"Villanueva moves quickly from his deconstruction of how foundation practices are embedded in colonialism to solutions, noting that they are easily found in the practices and traditions of the continent's indigenous peoples. 'All of us who have been forced to the margins,' he writes, 'are the very ones who harbor the best solutions for healing, progress and peace, by virtue of our outsider perspective and resilience.'"

A member of the Lumbee tribe, Edgar Villanueva focuses his critical analysis of philanthropy on on the grantmaking process.

Broadway director Rachel Chavkin on diversity, overcoming imposter syndrome

Know Your Value on NBC News

"Theater and the arts in general, people think of as being amongst the most progressive industries, and yet, unfortunately there is the same, systemic, both white supremacy and patriarchy that we see operating in so many different industries around the world.

A video interview with the director of Hadestown, who called out Broadway for being a predominantly white and male space during her 2019 Tony acceptance speech.