Saturday, September 25, 2010

Holding Our Tongue @ CPT

Live Blogging

5:04 pm
Winding down now. Can I just say Faye Sholiton bathes in awesomeness?

And can I say how much I love the fact that all of Ozen Yula's preconceptions about Cleveland came from Stranger Than Paradise?

4:49 pm
The big issue of censorship this afternoon, as put forth by Ms. Shamieh, is how large non-profit professional theaters get government and corporate funding by making multiculturalism in their mission statement, and then producing absolutely no work from marginalized voices.
"The community with the most to say have the least resources to say it."
4:20 pm (It's 4:20 time.)
We are in the midst of a dynamite panel discussion with Ari Roth (Theatre J), playwright Betty Shamieh and David Faux (Dramatist Guild.) I will get this stuff down ... but we're back now and Eric Coble is talking about feelings.

I will say this ... Image of the morning; white academic bemoaning the impotence of modern American theater, and Raymond Bobgan enthusiastically countering that this moment in American theater is the most exciting, embracing as it does the widest possible amount of multicultural work in our nation's history.

2:25 pm
Elaine Feagler is a beautiful human being. That was hilarious! And surprisingly moving. I think I was expecting something, I was not expecting to be moved, no, not at all. And I never in my wildest dreams thought I would ever be moved almost to tears by words coming out of the mouth of Drew Narten.

I mean, come on.

Good God, there is a quorum of Playwrights' Unit people, right there, I should say hello.

1:30 pm
Amazing - even our lunch at Gypsy became a round table discussion on censorship, with representatives from the Play House, Ensemble Theatre and GLTF (that would be me) as well as various playwrights ... and Fred.

In moments they will begin a staged reading of one of Yula's works.

11:04 am
Ozen Yula described in greater detail the controversy generated by his play Lick But Don't Swallow which was to open in Istanbul following his arrival in Cleveland this past winter. When a secular paper announced its premiere, describing it in one sentence as a play about an angel that becomes a porn star, things got difficult.

The online paper (yes, they have those in Turkey) received hundreds of comments. People who had of course not seen this play, as it was not yet close to even opening yet but was merely in rehearsals, piled on, expressing their indignation, and proclaiming that "something must be done." In Turkey, when someone demands that something be done, especially on religious grounds, often something is done. Yula reminded us that in America when cranks leave messages on the Internet, no one does anything.

Except when they do, of course.

He also described the young men of his country, who are in large numbers unemployed, who spend time in coffee houses, jacked up on (presumably) Turkish coffee, who are often stirred into action when "something is happening." A large number of young men showed up at the theater, asking when this play would open. A little menacing.

Interestingly, later in the discussion, Michael Mauldin from CSU was lamenting the lack of interest in live theater, on a political or important level, in the United States. He recounted the time in 1989 when Do The Right Thing had NYC Mayor Dinkins pleading with the public not to act upon the images they saw in Spike Lee's film. Presumably he was speaking to certain young men, also unemployed in large numbers.

Idle hands, everywhere, are what we fear.

During an otherwise uncontroversial discussion on censorship, Tony Brown was asked whether the Rosenberg case had a "chilling effect" on his work as a critic. He did not answer this question, choosing instead to explain how Rosenberg's situation was unique, leaving one to draw their own conclusions.

9:13 am
Things getting underway. I am impressed with the sheer amount of artists attendant this early on a Saturday morning. Playwrights! Playwrights! Playwrights! Margaret says she needs to talk to me about blogging because I am the "blogger extraordinaire." She just said that to me. Just now.

If you are free, come down to Cleveland Public Theatre, there is a panel discussion with Ozen Yula until 11 am featuring Gary Garrison (Dramatists Guild), Dr. Michael Mauldin (CSU), Tony Brown (Plain Dealer) and Mr. Yula.

For all the kids out there - yes, Fred is here.

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