Humanist

Hamilton and Safe Spaces

Recently, the Vice-President Elect, Mike Pence, attended the multiple award winning, critically acclaimed musical Hamilton. According to reports, upon arrival the VPE was greeted with a mixture of boos and cheers from the audience. There were points in the show where Lin-Manuel Miranda’s lyrics and music caused the audience to respond in such a way that actors had to pause and refocus. Afterwards, during the curtain call, the cast addressed Vice-President Elect Pence voicing their concerns and their desire that the Trump administration remember them after telling the audience not to boo Governor Pence.

The President-Elect responded on Twitter with this message:

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>The Theater must always be a safe and special place.The cast of Hamilton was very rude last night to a very good man, Mike Pence. Apologize!</p>&mdash; Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) <a href=”https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/799974635274194947″>November 19, 2016</a></blockquote>
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As this blog goes out, many angry Americans are rating the Hamilton show as a 1-Star show and #BoycottHamilton is trending on Twitter. The point of this blog isn’t political. It isn’t about the Hamilton’s cast message to Vice-President Elect Pence nor about really about President-Elect Trump’s tweet. It is about the idea that theater is a “safe and special place”. theater can be a place of entertainment, but it isn’t solely a place of entertainment. Theater is also a place where ideas are challenged, where people are challenged. Shows like The Crucible and The Hairy Ape are designed to make people think within the context of theater. Even seemingly “safe” shows like Oklahoma, The Music Man, Wicked and Hairspray present ideas to challenge the ideas and notions of the audience. Look at shows like Rent, Angels in America, Dog Sees God, Book of Mormon, the list goes on and on.

So lets get rid of the idea that theater is a “safe” place, but it is a “special place”.

 

Attacks on Satire Is An Attack On Our Humanity

#JeSuisCharlie In my play THE ABSOLUTELY TRUE STORY OF TOM SAWYER AS TOLD BY BECKY THATCHER, I included, at the very end of the show, a bit of satire. Not the greatest writing in the world and that good of satire but a light poking at president of the time. The line goes “George? That boy was dumb enough to be president.” This was inspired, no doubt, from my love of Saturday Night Love, The State and other comedy groups. I found out later (not at the time of the performance) that one of the actors parents got upset at my friend who co-directed the show and accused him of bringing a liberal bias into everything he did there. People get upset at satire all the time, its how we respond that matters.

Satire, in all its forms, really is our expression of speech. That’s why we can mock President Obama the same way we mocked President Bush and President Clinton, and President Bush, and President Reagan and President Carter and President Ford and President Nixon and…well the list goes on.

As someone who cares about the arts, who supports the arts, who lives in the arts, the minute we silence one voice in one area, gives us the power to silence the voices of anyone we disagree with and that will lead to tyranny and the end of our humanity.

Satire May Be Uncomfortable, But Humor Makes Us Human : NPR.

‘Are you a feminist?’ — the question more and more female celebrities are asked – The Washington Post

True story, once upon a time in a land far far away (in reality about 20 years ago in a town about 100 miles away), I rejected the idea of feminism. Not because I didn’t believe in equal rights, but because I believed this notion that feminist = man hating woman. I thought, wrongly, that there was this evil cabal of women (who were jealous or something) ready to pounce and basically make us sperm donors or something. I believed and perpetuated this idea for a good long time. I had a friend and we jokingly referred to ourselves as N.A.M. (the National Association of Men). I got into a few near shouting arguments in my civics and government classes with a couple of young ladies who were just as passionate about things as I was, but on the “other side”. Yeah it was stupid. I was stupid. I listened to and believed in things that if I would have stopped and thought about it made no sense. Even lately, I tend to do what a lot of celebrities do and refer to myself a “humanist” (a believer in the rights of all humans to be equal), not because I’m not a feminist or whatever but because I think it’s a more accurate term.

There are things I agree with those who identify as feminist on and things I disagree on. I think that is the sign of someone who truly THINKS, I distrust people who blindly spout the same stuff as a blogger, writer, media personality, etc. because I WAS that person. If a certain radio or television personality said it was so, I repeated it verbatim.

I bring this up because this is an interesting article on the celebrity feminist question. What does it mean and what does it entail and why certain celebrities get asked questions about it while others do not.

‘Are you a feminist?’ — the question more and more female celebrities are asked – The Washington Post.