by 99 Seats
So, Scott, you know I have a fair amount of respect for you and your work. But I'm calling bullshit on this. Absolute, obnoxious, pointless, self-aggrandizing bullshit.
What have I been doing? This. This. This. For the last two years, it's been my pleasure and honor to help build a theatre collective that is actively connecting black artists with a black audience that is dying for theatre. I have watched our audience and impact grow. I've seen, actually seen, with my own eyes, the impact we have had. That's what I've been doing. It's one of the reasons my posting here has been light. I haven't been talking about the changes I want to see. I've been making them. So before you get up on your high horse, open your eyes and see things beyond your narrow, narrow sphere. People are working, working rather hard to make our theatre stronger.
They exist. In droves. I've seen them. I've met them. They've asked me for more work, more plays, more great theatre. No, they're not going to Broadway, because Broadway is showing them nothing about their lives. That's what theatre is for, right? To hold a mirror up to nature. If it's not doing that, why not go?
What Tom did does not. It does nothing to make theatre in this country stronger, to move the ball forward. And it is not controversial, brave or insightful to say that theatre is the province of white people only. It's racist. Period. And if you can't see that, you, my dear friend, are one of those people on the escalator, blindly going through life without actually looking around.
If Tom had said, well, poor people don't really go to Broadway, therefore theatre's not for them and we should stop trying to create theatre for them, you'd be up on your high horse. But no, he just confirmed for you something you think is possible: that black people just don't get theatre. It's their fault. Not yours. So forget them. Leave them to their physical sports and their hip-hop, while we live the life of the true mind. Oh, we don't mean to say that they're not smart enough to understand and appreciate Shakespeare...but they're not.
The people I know, black, white, Latino, Korean, Chinese, Filipino, Jewish, mixed race, they're all working their asses off, trying to make better theatre, make stronger, smarter theatre. You know who's in the way? People who think like you and Tom. People who think that theatre is really only reserved for a certain chosen few, whether they're chosen by wealth, location, education or race. It's all the same prejudice. It's rank and that's what's killing our theatre.
The other reason I haven't been posting a lot is because I just plain got tired of having this fight. Tired of trying to explain that diversity is important to people who clearly don't actually give a crap about racism or equity or diversity. Tired of people like you and Tom and others, who stick your fingers in your ears and ignore any evidence that shakes your worldview. When people try to confront you about it, you accuse them of being careerist or urbanist or elitist and reject it. You're no better than climate change skeptics. The world is falling apart around you, but you don't want to actually do anything about it. Or rather, you just want to help people who look like you. Everyone else can burn.
If Tom had actually raised a question or started a conversation about modes of theatre, about cultural changes, or even about the effectiveness of marketing to people of color, then we could have a conversation. He didn't. And so we don't get to have a conversation. We're just yelling at each other. I didn't want to get angry about this, but, congrats, Scott, you made me angry. Hope you're happy. And before you even say that you weren't talking about me, you came here to say it. You posted it here. Not on Twitter. Not on your own blog. Maybe you're talking about someone else. But you were talking to me. Okay? So this is what you get back.