Posted in #dystopia, Baryshnikov Arts Center, Bonobo, Chilean experimental theater group, George Bernard Shaw, GTG Project Shaw, J.M. Barrie, new work, politically inspired, politics, Shakespeare, Theater Resources Unlimited, troubled times, Tu Amaras, turmoil

Theater for troubled times

This is not the first era in history that has found itself in one or another kind of turmoil. Trouble, as often as not, is the friend of art. It provides the inspiration for high drama or low comedy. But… it often takes a perspecive to really examine our own times.

Shakespeare used his history plays to comment about Elizabethan mores, as well as display them in the context of history, power and politics. Not his most famous quote, but one I like for our times, is from Measure for Measure:

“We must not make a scarecrow of the law, setting it up to fear the birds of prey, and let it keep one shape till custom make it their perch and not their terror.”

Or perhaps in the midst of the impeachment dramedy we might look to Julius Caesar‘s Brutus when he mulls Caesar’s rise “Th’ abuse of greatness is when it disjoins remorse from power.” Or, lastly, since our current emperor lives in such delusion, we can quote Kent from King Lear “Think’st thou that duty shall have dread to speak when power to flattery bows? To plainness honor’s bound when majesty falls to folly.”

May our playwrights continue to “speak truth to power” and let the voice of reason prevail for the 21st century. Or at least let that voice ring out clearly against all the “fake-news” conspiratorials that are invoked by those who seek to oppress and conceal truth. Amen.

Project Shaw, the Gingold Theatrical Group’s ongoing one-nighters looks to the works of George Bernard Shaw (and contemporaries) for a “montly guide to reason.” The theme for their 2020 season is “seeing clearly through art.” Next up on the schedule is the February 24th concert reading of J.M. Barrie’s What Every Woman Knows. On May 18th, they turn to Shaw’s Saint Joan for an inspiration of commonsense. For the full 2020 schedule, visit the GTG website.

Playwrights looking to develop their “voices” can turn to Theater Resources Unlimited (TRU) for their 21st Annual TRU Voices New Plays Reading Series . The call for submissions is by January 31, 2020.. TRU is a twenty-seven-year-old 501(c)(3) nonprofit network established for the purpose of helping those involved in the theater understand and navigate the business of the arts

For the 2020 TRU Voices New Plays Reading Series, which will take place in June 2020, TRU will help pay for the developmental reading of new plays, connect finalists with producers, and assist in finding venues.

Please note that all links to shows in this “review” of theater for the disaffected, for the dystopia of our times, for progressives are for past dates except for the GTG schedule of Project Shaw. The dates for and info on TRU New Voices is also current.


By way of postscript: Dystopia takes many forms. The state of depravation and oppression can be answered by the comic as well as the tragic. For the experimental theater troupe from Chile, Bonobo, it takes a sci-fi turn.

In Tú Amarás (You Shall Love), doctors attending a conference on Prejudice in Medicine find the subject of their program disrupted by a group of extraterrestials seeking asylum after a genocide against them.

Bonobo developed the play during its residency at Baryshnikov Arts Center, where it will get the U.S. premiere in Spanish with English supertitles, Thursday, February 13, through Saturday, February 15.

Posted in theater, theater folk, theater lovers, Theater Resources Unlimited, theatrical producer

Let’s put on a show!

Judy and Mickey may have been able to put up a show on a wing (time step) and a prayer. You likely need more than just that barn. If you want to be an impressario, you need some skills.

Those with curiousity about what it takes to be a Broadway (or off and off-off) producter can explore these options with the Theater Resources Unlimited (TRU) in an intro program on August 20th.

The free informational program will introduce prospective theater showmen in the intricacies involved in mounting a show. .At this meet-and-greet info session about TRU’s Producer Development and Mentorship Program (PDMP), the would-be producer will have the chance to learn from and network with TRU’s commercial producer instructors and successful program graduates.

PDMP’s mission is to give members the resources and mastery to become commercial theater producers, non-profit theater producers and/or self-producing artists. TRU’s classes, which are reasonably priced, will give you the necessary know-how, such as developing a business plan, raising money, budgeting, marketing and putting together creative production teams. For those theater artists who may need to self-produce, they also provide the tools with which to create your own opportunities .

Want to find out more about this profession? Register using the red ticketing box at https://truonline.org/events/intro-to-pdmp-2019-20/.

Posted in #festivital, The Public Theater, theater, Theater Resources Unlimited

It’s not just dessert

The arts feed us. They are not like cake. You can skip cake. You have to eat your vegetables.

cakedujourThere is tremendous nourishment to be found in museums and theaters. These provide us nutrients for our soul. I will focus here on theater arts, but it applies to all aspects of essential human endeavors in expression and self-expression.

Good and good for you! 

The arts, in their turn, need nourishing. They are most often supported by the public that attends to them. It’s a kind of symbiosis.

Not for profit theater is particularly vulnerable. The subscription houses that depend upon patrons will tell you that only x% is derived from the price of tickets; the rest is covered by donations, and sometimes public funding. In the present environment, the latter is likely –no scratch that– definitely not going to be much support.

Mind the gap

It is up to us, and to theater professionals to find their way around the gaps.

Twitter is explosive with opinions and comments on all sides, with many an artist standing tall in that forum. Some hail from abroad, including Canada based  University of Waterloo. Others like @GeorgeTakei and @Rosie (O’Donnell) are doing what we expect in their tweets, as is our dear @cher, whose all caps outrage is refreshing.

We can easily concede that the 140 character message does not begin to tell the story. For more complete dialog, there will be many artists empanelled in an effort to understand how to proceed.

The Public Theater is holding a series of fori on the subject of the election’s impact on the arts. In March, the panwels will address what responsible citizens can do in this new dystopian era; the series is called Truth to Power.

On February 20th, Theater Resources Unlimited (TRU) will take a direct look at the risks this election has created, and how the artistic community should and can address them.

March 3-5, Dixon Place in association with the Institute of Prophetic Activist Art hosts an International Human Rights Festival as their answer to life in the post election USA. The festival, a first of its kind in NYC’s long cultural history, celebrates the arts and activism.

Tom Block, the force behind the International Human Rights Festival talks about progressive art: