Forums and Shakespeare, Debates, OH MY!

It’s been quite the exciting few weeks: 

  • The presidential debates… I… I…I don’t even know where to start… just… please vote ok?  People around the world (and here in the US in the very recent past) have been fighting for the right/ privilege to vote.
  • Controversy over The Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of “The Orphan of Zhao” in rep with 2 other shows starting October 30 til March of 2013.  Please note Asian child in promo material.  However, FYI — you will only see Asians in the role of a puppet dog and the maid.  Asians can’t be a whole person, only servants and half an animal.  (Kinda reminds me of this thing called the 3/5’s compromise.)  According to the RSC: “We decided that a single company of actors would play roles across all three plays and, because we wanted to reflect the diverse population of the UK on our stages, the three directors cast an ethnically diverse company, including three actors of Chinese and East Asian heritage.” — So ethnically diverse means they can’t have too many Chinese-ey looking people playing characters in Brecht and Pushkin plays?  And they can’t play heroic/ pivotal characters?  I’m asking cause I need clarification on this.
    In the words of LeVar Burton (Reading Rainbow), you don’t have to take my word for it: Let’s consult actress Erin Quill.
  • And of course there was a Symposium/Forum/ Town Hall thingy at East West Players, attended by the Artistic Directors of La Jolla Playhouse, Center Theatre Group, South Coast Rep, and Pasadena Playhouse, as well as a number of local Southern California theatre organizations. That was cool.  But it made me think, damn there are a lot of white men in charge of things.  I want to do their job.

In my attempt to wade through the discourse and emotions of all of the above, my mind keeps coming back to the word, pioneer, noun. (from the online Merriam Webster):

1: a member of a military unit usually of construction engineers
2a :a person or group that originates or helps open up a new line of thought or activity or a new method or technical development
b : one of the first to settle in a territory
3: a plant or animal capable of establishing itself in a bare, barren, or open area and initiating an ecological cycle
Cause I feel like I am (along with so many others) trying to introduce people to “new” ideas and feelings that I’ve had my entire life.  And it feels like we are trying to establish something, a voice? an identity? visibility? and I feel militant yet tired about talking about race.
I just finished watching the horrendous and amazing “Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter” — thank you husband for that, and actually, I was reminded of the underground railroad and Harriet TubmanShe must have been tired of talking about slavery and race.  I imagine her thinking I’m tired of talking about, I’m gonna freakin do something about it.  Well, shit, then my ‘tired’ is nothing to complain about.  If she could rouse herself to make a difference, so can we.


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