Artsy Fartsy Schmartsy

I really try to be a person that doesn’t wrap myself in things that could be construed as drama unless it’s on the stage, but something is going on in the theater community in Wilmington that will not allow me to remain silent.  In order to understand what I’m about to talk about some background information is required.  This is a story much like that of David and Goliath.

I mentioned in a previous post (See “Booty Poppin” this blog) that the artistic director of the theater company that I am a proud member of is young and phenomenally talented.  From a young age he has been involved with the local theater community and has directed productions for the Association’s Children’s Theater.  Then he had the audacity to start his own theater company.  From day one when he announced what his first production would be (Dream Girls) there was much buzz in the theater community that there wasn’t enough talent in the African-American “Community” to cast the show (like there are just six of us in the back of a community center sitting on folding chairs).  The show opened to rave reviews and packed audiences that came more than once.

Since Dream Girls Techmoja has made a name for itself in the local theater community with the frenetic energy of Kevin Green’s choreography and his willingness to give everybody a chance, even and old woman like me.  However, there has been drama behind the scenes (after all we are talking about the theater).  At every turn the “old guard’ has placed road blocks in the way of this young upstart.  Who does e think he is anyway to have the audacity to hope that he could carve out a niche in this theater community and give (all but a select few) African-Americans significant roles?

When Techmoja purchased the rights to Rent one of the other, larger, more prominent, well-funded companies purchased the rights also.  Techmoja let it go and did a different show.  When Techmoja did Hair Spray, a couple of months later, another, larger, more prominent, well-funded company did that show as well.  It just so happened that the community theater awards were a short time later but the dates for the shows that were included in the nominations seemed to be before the dates that Techmoja did the same show.  But there were awards given to performances from Hairspray, just to another company.   Which brings us to where we are now.

When Techmoja purchased the rights to The Color Purple, the artistic director contacted a person who has served as musical director in other productions and inquired if that person would be interested in being the musical director for this production.  That person felt it was a good idea that another, larger, more prominent, well-funded company do the same show.   Here is why I am concerned. The Willie Lynch Mentality.  I won’t go into all the details of the theory but in a nutshell it was designed to pit people of African descent against each other.  It breaks my heart that now a young man is being maligned and misrepresented, and down right vilified because someone wants to exploit our talents and our stories for their gain by trying to pit us against each other. I’m saddened that we can’t look beyond this, come together and put on the most awesome production ever seen this side of Broadway.  It’s time for us to come together and put Willie Lynch’s mentality of divide and conquer in the grave beside him.  In the words of Rodney King, can’t we all just get along?

The thoughts and opinions in this blog are strictly the writers.

Is. 54:17


~ by Diva2de on July 12, 2012.

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