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
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:The Plays, as in the whole reason this Festival EXISTS:
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.
As for the plays…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!?!
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 castDirector mostly avoids reference to race in the extremely short foreword, but does mention the production was inspired by “Blues and jazz greats.”Rent:
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.
Description: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.
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.