Category Archives: Theater

The Beckoning of Lovely: A Year Later

In May, I posted a video of The Beckoning of Lovely project, headed by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. She recently posted a new video with an update, a year after the original experiment. It’s short, but worth watching for its breath of fresh air.

Beauty in a Wicked World is a weekly column by Jennifer Gandin Le. It appears on Wednesdays.


Filed under Beauty in a Wicked World, Relationships, Theater

Sand Animation from the Ukraine

I’ve never seen anyone tell a story in this medium. I am so impressed by human ingenuity. Watching this skillful artist is worth 8 minutes of your life.

Beauty in a Wicked World is a weekly column by Jennifer Gandin Le. It appears on Wednesdays.


Filed under Art, Beauty in a Wicked World, Relationships, Theater

Clowns 1, KKK 0

via Rob Brezsny

clownaraThis story is almost two years old, but it’s still a fantastic tale of using lively humor to puncture hate.

Posted in its entirety; originally from Asheville Indymedia:

Unfortunately for [VNN] the 100th ARA (Anti Racist Action) clown block came and handed them their asses by making them appear like the asses they were.

Alex Linder the founder of VNN and the lead organizer of the rally kicked off events by rushing the clowns in a fit of rage, and was promptly arrested by 4 Knoxville police officers who dropped him to the ground when he resisted and dragged him off past the red shiny shoes of the clowns.

“White Power!” the Nazi’s shouted, “White Flour?” the clowns yelled back running in circles throwing flour in the air and raising separate letters which spelt “White Flour”.

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Filed under Beauty in a Wicked World, Race, Theater

Worst Sound Design

Anybody else watching the Tony Awards? Yikes. I had just settled in with some fried zucchini (my husband could be Giada) and said, “Boy, it sure is a lot more relaxing to sit here on the couch and watch the awards than to be a sleep-deprived production assistant.” Flashback to running around, wiggling behind chorus girls to deliver Starbucks and pacing the production trailer, watching the allotted time for the show dwindle in the overly dramatic hands of long speech givers.

I am especially glad to not be backstage tonight, because they are having a sound nightmare. It started in the opening number when the Westside Story gangs were inaudible. Then, it sounded like aliens were descending upon Radio City Hall in the midst of Neil Patrick Harris’s monologue. Several numbers later, when they were just about to start rocking the boat, a stagehand had to run on stage to give the soloist a handheld mic. Outside of sound issues, names were mixed up and tech crew could be seen upstage of a presenter.

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Filed under All The World, Theater

Boal: Hero of the Oppressed

With all due respect for the original intentions of this holiday, I’d like to draw attention to the world’s loss of different type of hero earlier this month. Augusto Boal was a chemist from Rio de Janeiro, who began studying theatre in the midst of his research at Columbia University and wrote and directed his first play in New York in 1955. Boal returned to Brazil the next year, where he began creating what he called Newspaper Theatre– political shows packed with audience engagement, performed in the countryside for the purpose of addressing local problems. By 1971, Brazil’s military dictatorship began to see Boal’s theatrical activities as a threat. They imprisoned and tortured him for three months.

Boal complained of knee pain at a plush hotel in Hollywood, but then laughed and told me that he wasn’t sure if it was from the torture or because he was in his 70s. His smile was contagious. His bravery unimaginable. This particular workshop, led by Augusto Boal and his son Julian, was not only on Theatre of the Oppressed (his first book and life’s work) but also on Legislative Theatre. Imagine if before voting, Congress watched a short play about the possible effects of the law they are about to pass. Now imagine Congressmen getting up on stage to explore other outcomes and to express their ideas. Twenty laws were passed this way in Rio De Janeiro when Boal was a City Councilman.

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Filed under All The World, Art, Politics, Theater

Reasons to Be Pretty

Reasons to Be PrettyThe 1908-1909 Broadway season featured roughly 140 productions and 12.8% of them were by women. 100 years later, of all the shows at major New York theaters this year, only 12.6% were by women. This isn’t representative of the number of plays being written by my gender. At least 40% of scripts submitted to professional theaters are written by women.

So if I can support the work of a female playwright, I will. Unfortunately, God of Carnage was already sold out and I was facing an impatient woman at the TKTS window. I didn’t think I wanted to see Reasons to Be Pretty. In spite of all the accolades garnered by In the Company of Men and Shape of Things, I’ve never been a fan of Neil LaBute’s. I may even have called his work misogynistic (on a regular basis). But there I was in the Plays Only ticket line, and I had been promised that this LaBute play was different. It was.

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Filed under All The World, Relationships, Theater, Writing

Lynn Nottage Wins Pulitzer

lynnnottageAs more information about the torture memos becomes public this week, it’s important to note that there is also a thrilling news story related, in a way, to torture. Lynn Nottage has won the Pulitzer Prize for her play Ruined, a story about women in the Congo who have been systemically raped and tortured. I haven’t had the privilege of seeing the play, but everyone in the Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts has been buzzing about this play for months, especially about the way it takes a hard look at something awful, yet leaves the audience with great catharsis and hope.

The show has been extended through May 10th, so go get your tickets!

Melissa Silverstein at Women & Hollywood has a great write-up about why awards matter, for the individual artist being honored and for the larger community of women and people of color who are making great work.

Thank you, Ms. Nottage, for creating more space for future artists, for bringing Americans’ attention to horrors we must face as fellow human beings, and for using the powerful medium of live performance to convey hope even in the middle of hopelessness.

Interview with Nottage at Manhattan Theatre Club’s website.

Playbill’s coverage of the honor

Daily News coverage

P.S. Emily, you totally called it.

Beauty in a Wicked World is a weekly column by Jennifer Gandin Le. It appears on Wednesdays.


Filed under Art, Beauty in a Wicked World, Gender, In The News, Theater