The Oregon Shakespeare Festival, a gay play, and walking out

Posted On: Saturday - April 29th 2023 5:46PM MST
In Topics: 
  Genderbenders  General Stupidity  Political Correctness  Race/Genetics

NOTE: Commenter E.H. Hail has put up a brand-new post on his Hail to You site. I haven't read it yet, but I'm absolutely certain he's got more details than we do. In this case, he comes at the story from the interest in the OSF board Asian members, which leads to a wider question. (Do they care really care about Shakespeare and Western culture, and then, how different are they from Westerners?): On the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) board and the role of Asians in the USA. BTW, I'm not being inconsistent with this - I wrote "Asian", as one of the 4 women's name sounds • Indian, while the other 3 are Oriental.

You've already got a back-log of a dozen posts that must, just MUST, be written, and then you come across some interesting comment that generates yet ANOTHER one! It's like being in The Mob, this blogging thing - they just won't let you quit, that is. Just when I thought I was out, the Stupidity pulls me back in!*

Now that was a dramatic intro., one very suitable for a post about Drama. It's not everyday Tic-Tok/Instagram/Twitter drama here, as I am pretty good about avoiding that - this is good drama, "the Theatre". (Sounds much more sophisticated using the British mis spelling, doesn't it?)

In an iSteve thread under a post about more BSing worthless Black! women professors, there was a not-too-off-topic digression about the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. It's not off-topic because, as we find out from this detailed comment by the commenter Wilkey, there's a Black! director now of this festival that almost solely caters to White and Asian** tastes. Ashland, Oregon, in southwestern Oregon - not on the coast but across the coast range in the Rogue River valley, just south of Medford - is a Whitetopia. It's a great place to feature Shakespeare's and other's plays to the public, some of whom come from all over to enjoy the small White town and the theater.

After getting that speeding ticket coming up hill from California to Grant's Pass some decades ago***, I've been hesitant to spend any money in this area, but then too, my family consists of far from artsy-fartsy types. (I think we could use a little more of that, honestly.) There's one exception, whom I'll get to down further in this post.

Commenter Wilkey's comment was a long, detailed, and thorough story of the Wokeness that involved hiring a Black! lady director for this $30 million endowed non-profit organization that has run the theater program for over 85 years. White people eat up this stuff, if anybody does. Yet, they had to go Woke, and what went along with it was the usual mis-handling of money, causing worries about the program's continuation. Not only that, but the casts of the plays, Shakespeare and otherwise, are going almost fully non-White.

I can't post up Wilkey's entire comment due to length ... along with my not having asked him. However, let me post in some of the casting/staff and play and movie (they got movies too) information. Movies:
Short films playing at Cyberland, the cinema house:

1) “You Go Girl” – it’s about a black woman
2) “Ash Land” – it’s also about a black woman
3) “Whole” – it’s about a 12-year-old black boy, growing up in the (white) suburbs, “missing parts of his blackness.”
4) “North Loop” – it’s about two black friends in Minneapolis
5) “Let Me Kill My Mother First” – a film about a token alternate minority, in this case East Asians.

And that’s it. No short films by white people – at this Shakepeare Festival in Southern Oregon.
The Plays, as in the whole reason this Festival EXISTS:
As for the plays…

Romeo & Juliet:
1) Black director (Garrett herself)
2) Hispanic Romeo, black Juliet

From Garrett’s foreword to the play:
It teaches us that a society divided against itself cannot prosper. Yet we allow ourselves to live in a more polarized country in a more polarized world. As a society, we are more cynical and self-righteous, while our children continue to be slaughtered by violence and poverty. The vitriolic campaign against people—mainly children—seeking refuge and asylum reflects our base humanity.
The Three Musketeers:
1) Black playwrite
2) Black director
3) Entirely black or Hispanic cast

From the director’s foreword:
The adaptation freely deploys verse, contemporary vernacular language, hip-hop, Rap, dance, music, and swordplay! Is this the origin of Urban contemporary swagger and style?
Twelfth Night:
1) Black director
2) Almost entirely black and Hispanic cast
Director mostly avoids reference to race in the extremely short foreword, but does mention the production was inspired by “Blues and jazz greats.”
1) Black director
2) Only 5 of the 20 cast members are white.

Where We Belong:
1) Asian director
2) A pretty damn white looking “Native American” playwrite/actor performing a one woman show.

In 2015, a Mohegan theatre-maker moves to England to pursue a PhD in Shakespeare, grappling with the question of what it means to remain or leave, as the Brexit vote threatens to further disengage the UK from the wider world. Moving between nations that have failed to reckon with their ongoing roles in colonialism, Achokayis finds comfort in the journeys of their Native ancestors who had to cross the ocean in the 1700s to help their people. In this intimate and exhilarating solo piece directed by Mei Ann Teo, Sayet asks us what it means to belong in an increasingly globalized world.
Now imagine the nice White people who go to these plays. They have always liked the Theater, and now, in their senior years, they've got the money, they've got their dream RV to travel the country, seeing the National Parks and the grandchildren, so why not head out to Ashland, Oregon? They've always wanted to. So, they made an effort to obtain the tickets and to get to Ashland early to stay at a B&B and eat the gourmet food. Now comes the play date. The play starts, and ... Wait a minute! This is not MY Shakespeare? What's with all the Blackety! - Black!?!

Do they dare say anything? Do theater-goers coming to see Shakespeare, et al, in Ashland ever leave the venue, better yet, after giving their opinion to the crowd and producers, and even demand their money back? Let me back up a bit before addressing that. Per more on this story from the (always accurate and also thorough) commenter Res, I saw the following excerpt from this Black! Festival Director Nataki Garrett in his comment:
I got a really nasty note in the mail a week ago that said, “Go woke, go broke.” And he put his member number down next to his name and said, “Former member, 33 years.” I was like, let me analyze this language here for a moment: He doesn’t want to be awakened. He wants to be in the dark. He wants to be asleep. And if choose to wake people up at OSF then then we’re going to lose our resources—that’s the threat, you know, “Go broke.” And I think: Thank you for letting me know in advance. What I need to know now is, who’s coming behind you? And how do I make a connection to them? And then maybe you’ll come back?
No, he's not coming back until you and the Wokeness are gone. The Festival will likely go defunct, to the sadness of American Theater-goers though, before that'd happen. (She's getting over $300,000 yearly - remember that when you buy a ticket, but that's not your main problem right now.)

So, the financial support from the people who love live theater may go away, and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival would go away with that. As they say, "that's why we can't have nice things". Wouldn't it wake - actually wake - people up to this Black! takeover of a White thing more quickly if people just ... raised a little hell, for crying out loud!

Yeah, I know. They are mostly well-off old people driving expensive RVs. They are not natural hell-raisers. Is ANYONE up for raising a little hell these days, because, I mean, the time for lots of that is NOW?

Sure, sometimes it's not warranted based on politeness or knowing the wife won't speak to you for a long while afterwards. (Wives aren't natural hell-raisers, at least outside the home.) That was the case in our anecdote titled "Someone told me it's all happening at the zoo.... Were she not with us that day, I'd surely have politely asked the scolding zookeeper "can we just watch the seals and sea lions in peace and quiet now, please?"

This brings me to the gay play. One family member is involved in the Theater. Rather than a Shakespeare play at a large venue, this was a set of 10 very short plays at a nice little 100-seat place. The first 5 plays were fine. At the intermission, my family member even asked if my son might be too tired to sit through 5 more. The boy was fine though.

Next up came the gay play! Who knew? (Actually, in hindsight, the title may have given that away, but I didn't see it coming.) No way were we staying, so I got up with him, and we left, very quietly, but very obviously, as it was that small 100-seat room. See, now this one sat in between in terms of willingness to make a scene - pun unintended. I wanted no part of this play, but this deal had not been advertised as some children's thing, and then there was the factor of my family member suffering embarrassment. I wasn't a donor either, and we'd gotten the tickets for free at that.

What's really damn out of line though is a big Festival with summer-long plays attended by White people from all over getting turned into Blackety! - Black! Festival! Yes, I'd have stood up, family and all (the wife's getting better) and spoke to whomever could hear me: "What the hell is this?! I didn't pay for Black! Shakespeare! I want my money back, NOW!"

No, it's not the $100 (who knows, probably a lot more) that will hurt the Festival's Woke Directors. See, but that kind of thing, raising some hell, gets OTHERS ready to do the same. It's the visibility and "We're not gonna take it!" factor. It gets the ball rolling and people understanding: We want to keep this thing White.

Is that too much to ask? Apparently, it is, and they'll lose their nearly century-long artsy entertainment if SOMEBODY doesn't raise some hell about it - then walk out.

* Yeah, we've done that Al Pacino line before, 3 times, in fact! That'd be here - here, and here.

** I don't know - maybe that's mostly Oriental people, but I wrote "Asian" this time, because I can see •Indians enjoying the theater too.

*** Just trying to pass an RV, which was climbing the 2-lane road at a snail's pace. I got to the passing lane stretch, and the dude hit the gas...

[UPDATED 05/03:]
Added top note with reference to the new Hail to You post.

Adam Smith
Wednesday - May 3rd 2023 6:50PM MST
PS: Greetings, Mr. Hail,

Peter Burnett was a visionary.

Thanks for the history lesson. Apparently Peter Burnett was Oregon's first Judge, among other things...

"Any free Black who refused to leave would be subject to lashing, a provision that was known as "Peter Burnett's lash law." Burnett, who later became the first governor of California, gave this explanation for his support for the law: "The object is to keep clear of that most troublesome class of population [Blacks]. We are in a new world, under the most favorable circumstances and we wish to avoid most of those evils that have so much afflicted the United States and other countries."

Wednesday - May 3rd 2023 8:30AM MST

RE: Adam Smith on moves to ban Black migrants in 1850s Oregon.

The same kinds of bans were regularly before the California Legislature in the period. The consensus view was in favor of a ban on Black in-migration into the state.

The governor himself, Peter Burnett, in 1850 urged vigorous action and warned that without a legislative ban on Black entries (which included slaves and quasi-slaves at the time), there would be constant years of racial strife and prevent the successful development of California.

I think often of the question "Who lost California," which happens in the late-20th century. We actually see salvos much earlier on in this fight, really from the start.
Monday - May 1st 2023 8:05PM MST
PS: I agree, Mr. Hail, that this E.S.G. is the enforcement of Wokeness on BigBiz, no longer just the internal seminar-enduring stuff, but the finances too.

"(I assume it is not primarily supported by public monies.)" Per Wilkie's comment in the next post, the Oregon government might change that. That's the way I see things going, when I am not in an optimistic mood. Governments will support the Wokeness, to stop the natural Get Woke, Go Broke cycle.
Monday - May 1st 2023 9:52AM MST

- Oregon Theater and Tucker Carlson: common causes -

The matter on which Mr. Wilkey writes seems to me connected to the recent Tucker Carlson firing and many other things.

The terminated scientists Brett Weinstein and Heather Heying recently say that the Tucker Carlson firing strikes them as an in-the-wild example as "E.S.G." ideology in practice.

Weinstein and Heying had been moderately anti-Wokeness in the end of the 2010s. Both were career-guillotined for it. That happened, incidentally, in Oregon. This interestingly placed W & H, in mid-career, totally unemployed in the 2019-20 academic year: searching for what to do and trying to make a "go" of it as independent science commentators. Then the "Covid"-Panic burst forth. Many stayed silent or (for whatever personal reason) caved into the Panic itself and carried the Panic banners for a while. W & H, having already been "cancelled" after a mob demanded it in about 2019, emerged as Anti-Panickers some time in 2020, and were slammed with renewed vigor by the pro-Panic coalition.

D.E.I. (or "D.I.E.") is an ideology, a sloganeered version of guiding principles of Wokeness; E.S.G. is (or can be understood as) an executive-arm OF that ideology, applicable to companies in how they allocate resources in practice. It is a How-To Guide to Wokeness, pitched to companies beginning in the late 2010s, like a real-money version of those "IN THIS HOUSE, WE BELIEVE" yard-signs, sometimes mocked but alas involving huge sums of money sloshing around, and real downstream effects.

The Oregon Theater Company is still a business, and as such dependent on a combination of ticket sales and donations from the same supporter-base. (I assume it is not primarily supported by public monies.) In the pre-Wokeness world, business-decisions -- including those of theater companies -- were basically based on serving market niches, with dollars-and-cents arguments the bedrock. Under D.E.I. ideological-guidance and the E.S.G. trainings and best-practices in the language of the decision-makers in these places, those "market"-concerns are downgraded and subordinated to ideological-guidance. This coexists under the broader ideological umbrella of IN THIS HOUSE WE BELIEVE, so opposition was muted.

E.S.G. is the key, Weinstein and Heying say, to why you see companies do things that seem objectively against their own financial interest. It is not actually irrational stupidity WITHIN the world of ideology.

E.S.G. explains these Oregon Theater affairs and a thousand other things in business-world. I mean private-sector businesses; not government-sector mandates, though the two increasingly have blurred lines. It goes all the way to the the Tucker Carlson firing.

Those people saying the Tucker Carlson firing was because he was under a boycott by many advertisers which depressed the rates paid for sponsors, well, that whole argument comes up short given how good Carlson is for the whole brand and how toxic his firing is for the brand. It is a puzzle and has spawned competing theories, none of which seem to quite make sense. But if you assume an E.S.G.-like process is guiding the decision-making, motivating these decisions, it makes perfect sense.
Sunday - April 30th 2023 9:49PM MST
PS: SafeNow, that sounds a lot like what is happening with this Oregon Shakespeare Festival too. Did you see what some of the plays were about. I'm hoping commenter Wilkey will give me the go ahead for pasting in his other comment with more details.

Mr. Smith, I've read about that. If these present day Oregon Black!s knew a lick of history, you'd think they'd boycott the freaking whole State for that. Matter of fact, someone oughta bring that up to Director Garrett. I'd be livid, and bail out and leave the Shakespeare Festival hanging, if I were her - that's my suggestion, anyway.
Adam Smith
Sunday - April 30th 2023 7:01PM MST
PS: Good evening, everyone,

Imagine what America could be without all these useless 𝗕𝗹𝗮𝗰𝗸! bodies hanging like a giant millstone around her neck. #SAD

On a brighter note, let's take a little time to remember a couple of great moments in Oregon History!

June 18, 1844 - The Provisional Government passes Oregon’s first Black exclusion law. It states that Blacks who tried to settle in Oregon would be publicly whipped – thirty-nine lashes, repeated every six months – until they left Oregon.

November 9, 1857 - Oregon voters approve the Oregon constitution, which bans both slavery and new Black residents in Oregon. It makes it illegal for Blacks to own real estate, make contracts, vote, or use the legal system.

Sunday - April 30th 2023 6:16PM MST
Here in The OC, I subscribed to the nationally prominent South Coast Rep
for decades, but no more. New artistic directors took over. The problem goes beyond casting black actors. Rather, it is play selection itself. All plays have a woke subject matter. And about half are of a middle-school
complexity. A few playwrights have been in their twenties - - there to instruct the cardigan-clad, grey-haired theater-goers about life.
Sunday - April 30th 2023 3:43PM MST
PS: "Medieval times were not dark." I did hesitate on writing that, Dieter. I'm not a scholar of that history, though it's intriguing. I only learned well after any history classes (which stopped after High School) that the Dark Ages and Middle Ages are different.

This Dark Age coming could indeed be darker, though I don't see it coming for everyone, just as, I suppose, the Chinese, Indians, etc, had no part in the olde Dark Ages.

Have a nice evening, Dieter.
Sunday - April 30th 2023 3:39PM MST
PS: Mr. Blanc, that commenter Wilkey replied to me with even more info. I will post that in its entirety if he says OK. I was assuming that most of the people who attend have bought their tickets in advance, made plans way ahead, and are kind of committed - he tells us that attendance is already WAY down - once bitten, twice shy, and all.

I don't know what the overlap is between those traveling theater-goes and the yard sign crown. You're probably right. Being there though, and seeing a rapped-out version of what you remember as high culture from the Old World, well, that's got to give anyone 2nd thoughts.
Dieter Kief
Sunday - April 30th 2023 9:37AM MST
What do you mean Mod. - that those Dark Ages started with blacks?

(hihi - just kiddin', kinda)

And I have to say: Medeival times were not dark. This is a retro-oruiented form of imperialism of our times on the past à la: we are the crown of the creation - and those before us were - dumb/dark/ 'n' obnoxious - - -

That said - your report has a theatrical and - 'cuse me - funny side to it. Also a side of ill-adviced daydreaming of the good people how things could improve; something night-strollering - - - sleep-'n'sheep-walkish - - - . As Isaid: Interesting! -

Have a nice day everybody - - -
Sunday - April 30th 2023 9:15AM MST
PS Mme B and I have been big-time theater-goers in Chicago for many years. I have put her on notice that I’m not interested in seeing anything that has been blackwashed. However, I wouldn’t count on the white folks who can afford $75 or $100 or $150 per ticket to oppose the Wokening of the theater. It seems to me that they’re the ones who most support it, and have signs in the front yards saying, “In This House We Believe….”
Sunday - April 30th 2023 7:51AM MST
PS: Shakespeare will be lost to history, and the people who've destroyed the culture will never know why things are worse... or even that they are.

I always wondered about those Dark Ages, how all that started? Now, I have an idea.
The Alarmist
Sunday - April 30th 2023 7:22AM MST

Garden variety black-washing.

I wonder what they’ll do when America runs out of money.
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