By Isaac Butler
Claudia La Rocco has a fantastic piece in the Times today talking about how gender stereotypes are playing out on Broadway, given how many female playwrights are represented on the boards this year. Spoiler: It's not working out quite how you'd think:
Is progress necessarily progressive?“Seminar,” a play about the art of writing and the drive for success, tackles gender politics head-on; based on Ms. Rebeck’s pointed remarks about sexism on Broadway in a 2008 essay, you might think “Seminar” would come laced with a feminist agenda.
Yet “Seminar” has its own insidious glass ceiling.
The plot revolves around a private course taught by Leonard, a hoary old lion of an author (Alan Rickman) to four ambitious young writers: Kate (played by Lily Rabe), another woman and two men. While Kate’s jibe at the “boys” comes during her final scene on stage, she does not get the last word of the play, which culminates (spoiler alert) in a celebration of the writer-as-tortured-artist, with the writers in question being two men: Leonard, who has by this point slept with both female students; and Martin (Hamish Linklater) who has slept with one of them, Izzy (Hettienne Park), an alarming Asian-sexpot caricature who bares her breasts early on, and seems well on his way to landing Kate as well.
The message seems to be: the women are around for sex, but intellectual love affairs occur between the serious artists. In the world of “Seminar,” they are men.
Please RTWT here. It raises a lot of interesting points that those of us who advocate for more diversity should ponder and problematizes the idea that diversity will lead to better roles and representations for women and people of color.
Anyway, check out the column, which in itself is an object lesson in why diversity amongst critics is important for our art form as well.