Political Commentary

by G.L. Horton

G.L. Horton's newest essays are now being posted on her stageblog.

Death Threats Stop Play
Ratna got death threats for "insulting" her religion and leaders. When she couldn't continue to risk the lives of her fellow actors, she did a one woman play and put her own life on the line. If an artist believes her work is true and that she has a sacred duty to bear witness to that truth, isn't that something worth risking death to accomplish?...

Colorblind Casting Roils 'Big River'
For me, the question is "Does the audience have an understanding of theatre as metaphor/convention?" In the classic psychological experiment, classes are divided into "blue eyes" and "green eyes"-- not based on actual eye color, but by random assignment of a colored scarf. After a few days of authority-sanctioned oppression of greens by blues, the subjects swap scarves. Victims quickly learn to be oppressors of their last-week superiors. Instructors discuss lesson...

Colorblind Casting of Huck/Jim
MD asks: "Would Fiddler on the Roof work if we made everyone Catholic? Or Buddhist?" GLH replies: The school isn't making Jim a white character or Huck an African-American -- it has a large white teenage actor playing grown up Jim, a Negro slave; and a smaller, light brown teenager playing 12 year old Huck -- in a story that clearly depicts the color line and the immorality enforced by it.

Producing Political Theatre for Educational & Fundraising Purposes
MP wrote: "The Producer in me thinks that [Under Seige aka Choices] could be underwritten through Planned Parenthood and used as an educational and fundraising piece of theatre..." GLH replies: Anyone who thinks this would have my wholehearted and openpocketbooked support...

Documentary Theatre
BST wrote concerning Ophelia: "Do you see a market - a valid market for this kind of social theatre - and, as a performer, the desire or need to participate in it?" GLH replies: [No.] OTOH, I DO admire and have been moved by Documentary pieces that use interviews and public records to arrive at an understanding of some event: Copenhagen, Fires in the Mirror, Bloody Sunday, Living Justice, The Exonorated...

Right to Choose Under Seige
AW wrote:
"Last night at auditions ... I was startled and delighted to hear two monologies from Under Siege. The first student found the monolog online, then was amazed to discover the Geralyn Horton Collection as part of the ICWP Archives--across the street from her acting class! So she read the whole play, shared it with her classmates. Yes!!!" GLH replies: I'm doing a little dance of happiness around my study after hearing this! ... It is my dearest wish that one-- or more-- of these young people will get together and do a production. Woman's most basic claim to self-government, control of her own body, is indeed "Under Siege", right now ... I want to stand up in a crowded college theatre and shout "Fire! Your freedom is smoldering, the fuse is lit....."

Tackling Controversy
Albee ... is ready to tackle controversial subjects -- aren't his scripts almost all controversial? ... 3rd world playwrights have risked and lost their lives to say what they feel needs saying-- but no writer dies or goes to jail here; their political work simply doesn't get produced...

Waiting for Righty
Richard Greenberg says: "You do see American theater that by default... promotes conservative thinking. But activist to the right? Theater doesn't seem to be the medium for that." GLH replies: Greenberg thinks there is no activist conservative theatre because [his definition of theatre] omits popular productions such as Evangelical and African American morality plays, which are produced and performed below the radar...


See also other G.L. Horton essays on . . . actors & acting . . . criticism . . . literature . . . miscellaneous . . . modern plays . . . political commentary . . . Shakespeare . . . women's issues . . . writing & directing & producing

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