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What We're Reading: August 2020

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!

Write the Thing that Changes the World

interview with Erika Dickerson-Despenza, by Charlene Adhiambo

"I am invested in radical liberatory visions, such as divestment from celebrity and capitalism, so that we are all great, so we are supplied with resources and rest, and there is no competition and no one is above criticism because they are famous or have the power to blacklist someone because they disagree. I’m more concerned with that than with how to make the industry a little less racist.  How do we divest and talk about abolition in a way that excites theatre makers to move toward that long vision rather than simply invest in reform?"

A conversation with PlayCo in which Erika (2018 Lark Van Lier New Voices Fellow) details her journey in the American theater so far, and answers the question "What does Black liberation look like in theater?"

Vocal Hygiene for the Revolution

by Milia Ayache

"4. Say no to caffeinated drinks. Although you will find it hard to stay awake after a full two months of being on the streets, caffeine severely dehydrates the vocal folds and makes it difficult to sing revolutionary songs and hurl profanities at the politicians sleeping in their apartments."

From Contemporary Theatre Review's "Dispatches," a how-to guide for actors in Beirut, Lebanon to keep their voices healthy, while raising them in protest.

HIV and STI Disclosure When It’s Not Your Status to Share

by Juan Michael Porter II

"In case you didn’t know, a person’s sexual history is nobody’s business but their own, unless they choose to share it with you. And even when that information is shared, it is to be guarded. But the shift to COVID reality has marked a return to some of the ugliest stigmatizations from the AIDS epidemic."

Playwright Donja R. Love (2016-17 Lark Van Lier New Voices Fellow) is quoted in this powerful piece addressing the stigmas that still exist around HIV, in the midst of another public health crisis.

Teach Them How to Say Goodbye: Why I Left the Theatre Company I Founded

by Tina Fallon

"For a country that claims to cherish independence, most of our nonprofit organizations remain oddly attached to their founders and longtime leaders. Conversely, our former rulers in Britain have embraced the notion that change is necessary for forward movement."

The founder of The 24 Hour Plays on the importance of turnover in American Theater leadership positions.

Am I A Self-Karen? with Activist Ashlee Marie Preston

from Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness

"The Non-Profit Industrial Complex, much like the Prison Industrial Complex, is an institution that essentially markets and monetizes on people's misfortunes... When you're talking about an institution that relies on federal funding, it's important to remember that we can't fix the problem with the problem."

On this podcast episode, founder of the YouAreEssential campaign Ashlee Marie Preston discusses some of the pitfalls of non-profit organizations that end up harming the communities they claim to serve.