All Aboard the Struggle Bus

It’s Wednesday! We’re halfway through the week and thaaaat much closer to the weekend and to Christmas. Those of you in finals mode right now, I will try to restrain my self-satisfied grin and offer you my sincerest condolences. In honor the finals struggle bus, and really anyone else who is having trouble focusing though a haze of PowerPoint presentations and indecipherable notes, please refer to this incredibly satisfying website.

As for our regularly scheduled theatre news, there are apparently a lot of changes brewing in black theatres around the world lately, such as the “renaissance” spearheaded by Australia’s Ibijerri Company. It’s important to note that down in Australia and New Zealand, indigenous peoples are considered and often self-identify as “black”, although they would likely not be accepted into that racial category in the United States. Another term commonly used is “blackfellas,” and there was even an award-winning movie by that name released in 1993.  It’s a sticky, complicated, and fascinating history, much like American race relations.  This season, ABC Australia premiered its first black prime-time comedy in years (sound familiar?)

This week in tragic snafus, British actress Dame Janet Guzman snapped when questioned about lack of black theatregoers, “And they don’t bloody come. They’re not interested. It’s not in their culture, that’s why. Just as their stuff is not in white culture.” It seems Ms. Guzman has completely missed out on the rich history of black and African theatre in the UK and around the world. What a shame for her. The rest of the London theatre community seems fairly determined to improve diversity in the theatre.

On a happier note, one of my favorite playwrights, the wonderfully bizarre Suzan Lori Parks, talks about her fabulous new play Father Comes Home from the Wars in this great New York Times interview. Over on the NYT Magazine side of things, there is a beautiful feature with different theater folks (like Bradley Cooper and Glenn Close) and their musings about the Great White Way.

And finally, for some bizarre, yet delightful news, look no further than Lance Bass’ wedding, which will be televised on December 20. How’s that for theatrical?

That’s all for now. I’m hoping the forecast for “Bay Area’s worst storm since 2009” is overblown, but just in case, tonight I’m going to stock up on water bottles and cookies (you know, the essentials). To you intrepid finals-takers, the end is nigh. I wish you a week filled with free coffee refills and kind professors.

 

Love and theatre,

-K

 

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2 thoughts on “All Aboard the Struggle Bus

  1. Great article.
    Suzman? She’s South African, so I wasn’t shocked about her comments (no offence). Its hard to change certain people’s attitudes when they’re from place and time that thought certain types of behaviors was acceptable.
    I don’t know what you think but personally, I don’t believe its a cultural problem.
    Its a financial one.

    In England there are lots of discounts when you’re under 18 or a full time student, but they usually limit the number of tickets available.
    So its either your weekly travelcard to get to university or… £35 blown on one theater ticket. Hmmmm.
    I still did go like twice a year, but I hated having certain people (you can guess what type I mean here) just stare at me. I mean it was like I wasn’t in London anymore.

    Its funny (not really) because later some people would “casually” come up and try and quiz me. They’d try to be coy about it but the impression was always clear that I didn’t belong.
    Damned if you do. Damned if you don’t.
    Sorry. Rant over.
    Still love this article x

    Like

    1. Thank you for your comment! It’s great to hear from someone who has actually experienced London theatre. I think American theatre has similar issue, namely, prohibitive pricing coupled with a less than welcoming environment for people of color. Not terribly surprised about Suzman, more exasperated. Sigh, I guess the only thing we can do is keep moving forward? Appreciate the feedback, and thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

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