The Playgoer: NYTW: Bring it On?

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Friday, April 14, 2006

NYTW: Bring it On?

This just in on NYTW.org...

SPECIAL EVENT at NYTW

Inspired by the controversy surroundingNew York Theatre Workshop's recent postponement of My Name is Rachel Corrie, the Workshop will hold a series of open discussions addressing the larger issues embedded in that controversy.

From April 19-26, NYTW will open its doors to present four sessions featuring prominent members from a variety of communities, including leaders of theatres and other cultural institutions, journalists, cultural commentators, historians, social scientists, and artists.

All events begin at 7:00pm at New York Theatre Workshop, 79 East 4th Street. Tickets will be available at the NYTW Box Office beginning at 6:00pm the day of each event.
Hmm. Lots to parse there. "Inspired by..."? Yes, what an inspirational decision!
"addressing the larger issues"= no questions, please, about Why Did You Not Produce This Play?
But, hey, I'll give them credit for "opening their doors." Seven weeks later. It sure seems cautious, but if they resist the defensive urge to circumscribe all the discussion and questions, and if this can lead to genuinely open exchange and honest answers, then they will have done some good. A lot will depend, though, on who's invited to speak. (And, no, I'm not expecting a call.)
Oh, and by the way.
Tickets are $10, cash only.

2 comments:

YS said...

Nice parsing

I cringe just imagining the uncomfortable moment when the moderator, grinning, announces during his opening statement, "Now, the actual controversy has been hashed out thouroughly in the press and so tonight we would like to move beyond that and talk about the larger issues this controversy addresses."

Let's see if any of the panelists, or audience members will keep the discussion on the controversy that has never been resolved.

Dr. Cashmere said...

If this is an effort to open a dialogue with critics of the theatre's decision to pull "Rachel Corrie" I certainly welcome it. It would count as a step in the right direction.

Of course, the $10 charge is a bit insulting. (How tone deaf are these people?)

But that's really a quibble. The more serious concern is that out of all four panels, only one panelist, Alisa Solomon, has been outspoken about NYTW's behavior (at least to the best of my knowledge).

Would it have been so hard to invite Christopher Shinn, Tony Kushner, John Patrick Shanley, Gregory Mosher, Paula Vogel, Eve Ensler, Stephen Adly Guirgis, David Van Asselt, David Cote, John Heilpern, Jason Grote, George Hunka or yes, The Playgoer? Is every single one of these people busy?

It makes me worry that scheduling these talks may be an attempt to mollify the community rather than to engage it; to supplant a discussion of NYTW's bad behavior with a discussion of general, theoretical issues.

Consider the final panel: Out of three panelists, one is a dramaturg at Arena Stage, where Nicola used to work; another is a theatre "consultant" who may or may not be on NYTW's payroll. Is this going to be a freewheeling debate where opposing points of view are aired, or the off Broadway equivalent of a Fox news roundtable?

I don't know the answer, but there are certainly grounds to be skeptical.