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What We're Reading: October 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!

High Tide of Heartbreak by Quiara Alegría Hudes

"I fear that at 40, having produced three musicals and four plays I am proud of, two early plays I am fond of, and a handful of work I’d rather forget about—at 40 years old, having worked on Broadway and Off, regionally and internationally; having gone into debt and then paid off those debts, all thanks to my theatre habit...I fear that today, after all that, the wound feels bigger than I can handle. I fear that the ways theatre has harmed me are winning out over the ways theatre has nourished me."

The keynote address delivered at the Association for Theatre in Higher Education conference in Boston in August 2018, published here in American Theatre.

Why "I'm not racist" is only half the story by Robin DiAngelo

BoJack Horseman’s Raphael Bob-Waksberg Talks About Coming to Terms With the “Original Sin” of the Show’s All-White Cast by Inkoo Kang

"I say this not to just flagellate myself or to show of... Also so that other white people making shows can see that this has been something that I have wrestled with, [instead of] looking at my show and saying, 'Oh well, he did it and it’s OK, so maybe it’s not that big a deal.'”

An interview with the show's creator on the casting of white actors to voice-act characters of color.

Diversity for Dummies Part Two by Ralph B. Peña

"We don’t live in a world where all things are equal. Artists of color, artists with disabilities, and transgender artists have far, far fewer opportunities to work. Diversity initiatives in the theatre are meant to increase those opportunities. One way to do that is to put them in all plays."

Some givens for theater companies to operate from, in order to avoid the pitfalls of many an ineffective initiative.

Mental Health and Working in Theatre: a Roundtable Discussion by Victoria Myers, in conversation with Lora Lee Gayer, Alexandra Socha, Halley Feiffer, Lauren Villegas, and Nikka Graff Lanzarone

"This lifestyle is not set up well for people struggling with mental illness. Routine is very good for people with depression, and there’s none of that [in this field]. There’s none."

A discussion of the unique challenges that pertain to working in theater while dealing with mental illness.

The Actor-Playwright Exploring What It Means to Be African in America by Jeremy O. Harris

"Given that Anyanwu is not only black but African, a first-generation American and that she’s working within the theater, her stories are doubly complex: She’s dramatizing the cultural crisis of assimilating as well as the existential crisis of the assimilated."

A profile of playwright-performer Ngozi Anyanwu, who will start in her own play Good Grief, which chronicles her own experience growing up Nigerian in the middle-class suburbs of Pennsylvania.