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What We're Reading: June 2018

What We're Reading
A stack of theater magazines and printed articles with post it notes marking specific pages sits on a wood surface. The most prominent is a book titled "theatre journal" and the cover features a woman singing into a microphone.

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!

Killing Desdemona: Creating Safe Spaces for Dangerous Work by Alicia Rodis

"​In conservatory classes especially, there is a long history of a toxic reward system when it comes to actor training.  Who has not had an acting teacher suggest bringing up a recent trauma to force tears, to get an objective no matter what?"

Alicia Rodis writes about her work as an Intimacy Director, helping to both choreograph intimate or violent scenes, and coach actors through rehearsing and performing them in a way that is emotionally safe.

Difficult plays and the critics who love them by James Ijames

"Reviewers should be critical of what they see onstage and it’s important for those criticisms to be published as a record of the work a community creates. However, I don't think it’s a critic’s responsibility to dismiss the theater a community makes, and I have seen this happen time and again..."

James Ijames, a playwright (and alum of The Lark's Playwrights' Week 2015) and actor from Philadelphia, writes on wanting more from the city's critics.

Telling Stories: An Arab/Arab American Theatre Collaboration by Catherine Coray

"With the presentation, we not only wanted to showcase translated work of playwrights from the 'other' region, but we wanted to see artists from Arab countries and the Americas work in the same room, and, in many cases, bilingually."

Middle East/U.S. Playwright Exchange Program Director Catherine Coray writes on the importance of telling stories across borders.

10 Books About Race To Read Instead Of Asking A Person Of Color To Explain Things To You by Sadie Trombetta

"If you really want to be a better ally, if you really want to be a on the front-lines in the war against racism and discrimination in the United States, you have to take the initiative to educate yourself."

A reading list within a reading list. Meta.

Why the pregnant pause? Women in performing arts still face baby barriers by Erica Eisen

"...​ theatres often “suggest” that a pregnant singer walk away from a contract of her own accord ... Conscious that pushing back might damage their careers in a highly competitive, connections-based job market, many women acquiesce."

A conversation sparked by soprano Julie Fuchs being asked to leave an opera cast because her pregnancy would ‘compromise its artistic integrity’.

#MeToo & The Culture of Fundraising by Priscilla Hung

"You’re trying to attract someone’s attention, engage them, and have them get close to the organization and to you. It’s strategic intimacy—and it can get blurry pretty quickly."

How power dynamics can reinforce a culture of silence.

An Apology by The Ample Team

"We messed up. We, the white folks at Ample, thought we were being respectful by holding off on incorporating the review functionality for BIPOC inclusivity until we had better feedback from those communities... We let our allying become performative in our fear of messing up."

The team behind a new app, used for rating establishments on inclusiveness towards people in marginalized bodies, blogs about a mistake they made as they rolled out their product, what they learned, and how they're moving forward.