Monday, May 31, 2010

A Call to Self-Examination

"Even if not a totally African American theater (based in a jazz performing style), at least a LORT theater that actually deals with the diversity of the United States instead of the similarities of England-America-and Europe... Chicago might be the current King of American theater but not yet it's savior."

Some strong and eloquent words from a comment on Chris Jones' blog.

The comment asks a great question: why doesn't Chicago have any LORT level Black professional theatre?

In a time when Chicago is calling itself America's Theatre Capital and fans flock to the ivory towers of Goodman, Shakes, and Steppenwolf, its time that our community asks who we are serving. Our theatres are largely on the north side. Our audiences are predominately white and come from people with money. How do we start to address the disparity? How do we make theatre the national scapbook that Ben Cameron would have it be?

Is this a call to action? Perhaps. But more importantly it is a call to self examination. A call to ask ourselves why we do this thing we do. It this an art that really gets to the core of our shared humanity and talks of the "human condition." Or are these just cheesy words that find their way into so many mission statements that are just a loft way to say we do plays. And the reason we do plays is so our ensemble members can act in awesome roles.

If I am wrong, I would like to know.

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