08.22.17

The Blossoming Of ‘Documentary Theatre (Just Don’t Call It That)

Amelia Parenteau: "Of the seven contemporary theatremakers I spoke to for this piece, not one was happy with the term 'documentary theatre' to describe their work. ... And yet each of these artists is undeniably engaged in creating some kind of documentary theatre, meaning that they draw from factual source material to craft their work and tell engaging stories in direct conversation with our present reality. Above and beyond holding a mirror up to society, as all art is charged to do, these theatremakers are finding ties to specific communities and stories, proving the old adage that truth is stranger than fiction."

Anna Deaveare Smith On Race In American Theatre (And In America)

In this speech, delivered at last year's Theatre Communications Groups national conference, the pioneer of verbatim theatre recounts the time she moderated an onstage debate between August Wilson and Robert Brustein (which organizers had wanted to turn into a verbal boxing match), performs excerpts from her Notes From the Field: Doing Time in Education (about the "school-to-prison pipeline"), and channels Margaret Mead and James Baldwin.

In Provincetown, Listening For What Marks Some Pop Music As ‘Gay’

"'Edge of Glory' is gay music? But plenty of straight people love that song.' When a bewildered straight friend said that to musicologist Chris White about the Lady Gaga hit, he was struck. "The musical gayness that is so obvious to me is invisible to him. I wonder whether there are reliable characteristics of music that can make a song obviously appeal to my particular sexual expression, while still 'passing' for mainstream music. What makes music sound gay to me? So, I took an audio recorder to Provincetown to record how places would signal this particular kind of gayness through particular kinds of music."

Can Twitter Be An Engine For Fan-Sourced Movies?

"At their core, these Twitter-generated film concepts evince a desire for representation beyond Hollywood’s limited, predominantly white imagination. But while Black Twitter continues to be an unprecedented vehicle for creativity—and, increasingly, a reliable form of audience focus-testing for Hollywood—can a viral fancasting phenomenon like this realistically change the industry’s status quo?"

What Ever Happened To The Librettist Of ‘Nixon In China’ And ‘The Death Of Klinghoffer’?

In the wake of the fame (or notoriety) of those two founding works of the genre now called "CNN opera," composer John Adams and director Peter Sellars went on to the heights of the opera world. Yet librettist Alice Goodman didn't rise along with them; instead, she moved to Britain and became an Anglican priest. Thomas May catches up with her. (Notably, both Adams and Sellars, whose collaboration with Goodman ended in long-lasting acrimony, have very warm words for her here.)