Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Afternoon Report, October 28, 2008

This information, called The Afternoon Report, is provided by a daily email blast from the publicity firm of Boneau Bryan-Brown, which maintains this blog.

Not enough women playwrights? Discuss.

“Here's what's going on in New York tonight (Mon, Oct. 27) -- an old-fashioned activists' meeting, and this one about the apparent fact that women playwrights are under-represented on American stages. (This is no surprise to us in Orlando, thanks to the good work hereabouts of Women Playwrights' Initiative.) The focus tonight is on New York theater, but I'd be curious to hear of similar statistics elsewhere across the country. To me, this is a much worse problem in some places than in others. Broadway, for instance, is pretty heavily male-dominated most of the time, while some regional theaters are not. It generally comes down to who's making the decisions, of course, and Broadway is a heavily traditional place. – I love Glass Menagerie, Noises Off and a lot of other plays that are produced all the time. But -- and here's the point -- wouldn't it be great if some local theaters thought a little farther outside the box? There might be some women standing out there.”
Sigh. Here we go. Everyone jumping, and perhaps with good reason, on the faux-misogynistic bandwagon. Is anyone going to talk about the power players on Broadway that are women and how their decisions impact this problem? There aren't just two of them, folks. And why is this whole conversation all about, and only about (it seems), Broadway? Isn't the real truth of the matter that Broadway is not the artistic be-all and end-all of the American theatre? And why should this be some kind of devastating revelation to anyone? Jesus Christ, you want to have a little bit of out-of-the-box thinking? Great, here it is: the American theatre is the American theatre, not the New York theatre, not the Broadway theatre. Discuss.

Parks Named Public Theater’s First Master Writer

Suzan-Lori Parks, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright of Topdog/Underdog and 365 Days/365 Plays, has been awarded the master writer chair at the Public Theater, the first time the distinction has been offered, the theater announced Monday. The residency, which Ms. Parks assumes on Nov. 1, is a salaried three-year position that “affords writers the flexibility and freedom to pursue their artistic goals and endeavors,” according to the Public Theater.
Gosh, can you imagine? That's like a Macarthur grant on steroids.

Goodman Theatre Launches World Premiere of RUINED 11/8

“Chicago's Goodman Theatre opens its “Strong Women, Strong Voices” Owen Theatre Series with the world premiere of RUINED by Lynn Nottage, directed by Kate Whoriskey and co-produced with Manhattan Theatre Club. Commissioned by the Goodman and first seen in the 2007 New Stages Series, Ruined was developed through Nottage and Whoriskey’s pilgrimage to Uganda—where countless interviews and interactions resulted in a portrait of the lives of the women and girls caught in the devastating armed conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).”
What's this? A play by a woman?

One-woman play about women, law comes to Herberger Theater

“The Arizona Project, a one-woman play about women, justice and the law, will be presented at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 8, at the Herberger Theater Center in Phoenix. The play, written and performed by award-winning playwright and actress Anna Deavere Smith, commemorates the 2006 naming of the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at Arizona State University and was supported by Arizona Women Lawyers Honoring Justice O'Connor. Smith conceived the play as a living tribute to women in the law, and in researching the project, she conducted one-on-one interviews with an extraordinary array of judges, attorneys, political figures, activists, convicts and other women involved in the justice system.”
Um, isn't Anna Deavere Smith a woman?

Broadway’s glass ceiling

“There's some feeling in rehearsal halls and writers' retreats and drunken dinner parties, that maybe the American theatre participates rather too enthusiastically in the supposed gender bias that the American media tosses about willy-nilly while discussing candidates for higher office. Mostly it is women playwrights who feel that way; male playwrights think the system is really, really fair and that women playwrights who raise these questions are whiners or dirty feminists. After all, everyone is discriminated against! It's show business! Nobody's happy! We're all narcissistic egomaniacs, you can't expect it to make sense! This is about the work. Which means, apparently, that any woman who cares enough to raise her voice about the fact that women's stories are not reaching the stages for which they are intended is a whiner, a dirty feminist and a lousy artist too - because a true artist wouldn't care.”
This is the blogpost that started it all. And just to be clear: I totally support the general idea that Rebeck is putting out there. I do not support the hysteria that I think may be resulting from Rebeck's concerns and observations.

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