CMU School of Drama

Friday, September 16, 2016

Black Female Playwrights Want You to Face Facts. The Harsh Ones.

The New York Times: It’s not unusual for theater, like many of the arts, to address a pressing social or political issue. But what strikes me as unusual this fall is that most of such work comes from notable black female playwrights: Sarah Jones, Anna Deavere Smith and Lynn Nottage all have new (or new to New York) works that grapple with problems preoccupying contemporary culture.


Aubrey Sirtautas said...

I am very excited for the lineup mentioned in this article and think it holds great potential for gaining awareness and movement in the American political consciousness. That being said, I think there is a difference between “all plays that want you to face the facts are written by black female playwrights” and “all black female playwrights want you to face the facts”. I would be remiss to say that I agree with the author that the only noteworthy and important performances occurring right now in New York are those written by black female artists, yet I do agree that all of the plays mentioned in the article are noteworthy. I think there is something to be said for those without a voice are now speaking out and they have something really strong and affirming to say. I recently saw Dael Orlandersmith’s production of Forever, and I would firmly put it into this same category of women using their gifts to confront hard truths about reality. I wonder if it’s a coincidence or a trend; only time will tell.

Mary Frances Candies said...

I am so excited and thrilled to hear about the amount of plays written by black females are being produced in and around New York City. I am even more excited that this article focuses this plays in the context of our current world standing. This author does not ignore that these plays are reflections of the twisted, especially for black females, system that we live in. The author even takes time to note the "movements" that are occurring throughout the United States, and the world as reactions to the injustices of systemic racism. It feels as though the author is tiptoeing. Part of me is glad that the author is tiptoeing. Charles Isherwood, the author, is a white male who is employed by the New York Times as a theatrical critic. A white male writing about the progress and the work of black females makes me uneasy. It makes it seem that although these women are accomplished and have fought the hard fight for their voices to be heard, the only way the New York Times will allow them to be heard is through a white man. That feeling does not sit well with me.