Skip to comments.Race an Issue in Wilson Play, and in Its Production
Posted on 04/23/2009 5:24:34 AM PDT by reaganaut1
In life, the playwright August Wilson had an all-but-official rule: No white directors for major productions of his work, which was one reason that a film was never made from his 10 plays about African-American life in the 20th century. Fences, one of the two awarded the Pulitzer Prize, foundered in Hollywood because of his insistence on a black director.
Yet in the years since Wilson died in 2005, an increasing number of white directors have staged his plays, and last week came a milestone: Joe Turners Come and Gone, which opened on April 16, is the first Broadway revival of a Wilson play since his death and the first ever on Broadway with a white director, the Tony Award-winning Bartlett Sher.
The selection of Mr. Sher by the producer, Lincoln Center Theater, has prompted concern and even outrage among some black directors, who say this production represents a lost opportunity for a black director, for whom few opportunities exist on Broadway or at major regional theaters.
Several black directors, in interviews, raised the same issue, but also expressed sharp disappointment in commercial and nonprofit producers for failing to create those opportunities.
Straight up institutional racism was how one black director of Wilsons plays on Broadway, Marion McClinton, described Lincoln Center Theaters selection of Mr. Sher, to a Minnesota newspaper this winter. In an interview this week, Mr. McClinton said choosing white directors for Wilson plays not only denied opportunities for black directors, but also reflected a double standard because so few black directors were chosen for major productions of canonical works by white playwrights.
Kenny Leon, the Broadway director of the last two works in the 10-play Wilson cycle Gem of the Ocean and Radio Golf said Broadway lacked a level playing field for black directors.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
A playwright says he only wants blacks involved in a production, and “racism” is claimed when the play is not produced?
Paging George Orwell!
I used to err on the side of being PC toward minorities,
but since last year I see that all of our efforts in America,
all our deference and protection and special laws and set-asides,
have not changed minorities’ hatred for whites one iota.
Screw it. If you hate me because of my skin color, I’m going to treat you for what you are - a racist.
If these minorities really want to see what racism can look like (they’ve forgotten its truly horrible face), we can start by not financially supporting any enterprise dominated by minorities.
That financial hurt may serve to remind them that things are pretty damn good in this country. In fact, the only group being discriminated against and vilified is the white, Christian, conservative male.
And, of course, we white, Christian, conservative males would never boycott an enterprise because of it is run by minorities, because we are not racists.
I wouldn’t produce/direct this writer’s plays simply because , based upon his quotes, he sucks as a thinker and a writer. He hasn’t broken free of the mold that leftists made for him.
Interesting—Wilson’s dad was a German immigrant—in fact Wilson’s real name was Frederick August Kittel, Jr.
an increasing number of white directors have staged his plays
Makes as much sense as Gene Wilder producing "Springtime For Hitler".
I wish he had a “no white people in the audience” rule. It would have saved my about 5 hours of my life that I will never get back, for the 2 plays I was dragged to.