What We're Reading: June 2019
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!
Inclusion vs. Belonging in 'A Fierce Kind of Love' by Alix Rosenfeld
"The idea that there’s a difference between inclusion (not a negative thing, to be clear) and belonging came up during the post-show talkback the night I saw A Fierce Kind of Love. The moderator, Ronnie Polaneczky, a Philadelphia journalist and writer of a four-part seriesabout the lives of people with intellectual disabilities and their caregivers, stated that the distinction between the two is that inclusion lets someone be a part of things in a passive way, but belonging makes that person integral."
A case study on best practices for making all audience and community members feel a sense of belonging, focused on Philadelphia-based FringeArts' production of the devised piece A Fierce Kind of Love.
How to Model a Healthier Professional Culture That Benefits Marginalized Artists and Administrators by Carl(os) Roa
"...there are a few key dynamics at play I want to look at that affect artists across all axes of oppression: The values of scarcity over abundance. The promotion of self over the celebration of others. The desperate grab for resources over the comfort of knowing there’s always enough for everyone. And, most importantly, micromanagement over trust."
A HowlRound essay that addresses the value systems of non-profit theater companies, and why putting the needs of people first is essential.
Why Can't I Be Both?: Fat Discrimination and Its Impact on the American Theatre by Sage Martin & Maggie Rogers
"Before delving into fat prejudice in the American theatre, one must understand how this discrimination manifests itself in the general public and daily life by viewing it from a micro and macro level. It is worth noting that aggressions do not have to fall at the feet of fat people. A fat person does not have to be present for fatphobia to be damaging. If you hear someone speaking negatively about a fat person’s physicality, say something. Even if they are not there, it is still an aggression and not correcting the behavior makes you complicit. Silence does nothing, for anyone."
A recording of a breakout session held at Statera’s National Conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, highlighting micro and macro aggressions against fat people in everyday life and specifically in the theater community. Audio and text versions available.
In Dialogue: Inner Life, Out Loud: A Strange Loop by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins
"To me, A Strange Loop is a kind of conversation back and forth, and the audience is part of it. And that's another reason why I'm so not interested in weaponizing race or anything about it. Yes, [the show] is very black and very queer, but that's not from a defensive place. There's something for everybody to learn from and to offer to that experience, you know?"
In an interview for The Brooklyn Rail, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins has a conversation with playwright Michael R. Jackson about his new show A Strange Loop, experiences at NYU/Tisch, learning to write for musical theater, and more.
Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
"Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle."