Teresa’s Weekly Update: Persistent Grit Edition

by Teresa Eyring

in National Conference,Weekly Update

Post image for Teresa’s Weekly Update: Persistent Grit Edition

If you plan to attend the Conference and haven’t yet booked your hotel, it is URGENT that you read this. The Park Plaza Hotel has extended their discount offer one more time for TCG attendees until Friday, June 1, 5pm (EST). After that time, the price increases dramatically and we can’t guarantee room availability. Visit our website to learn more about lodging and travel options. Registration has now climbed to nearly 800 attendees, and we expect to be at full capacity again this year, so seize the moment and join us in Boston as we Model the Movement.

Last week, I was working with the TCG staff on our introductory video, an annual Conference tradition. While watching, I was struck again by the courage of the theatre people who lead our resident theatre movement. It takes a particular kind of audacity to imagine professional theatres springing up across our country where there were none before. It takes daily courage to keep those doors open, year after year. It requires creative daring to make work that both entertains and challenges our diverse communities.

Above all, it depends upon a persistent grit, a capacity to look hard truths in the face and not shy away. Sometimes, those truths are issues simmering unsaid in our communities or our culture at large. Sometimes, they live within ourselves, which can be the hardest reckoning of all. Artists are increasingly revealing these truths through investigative and documentary theatre techniques. As we learned this year from the events surrounding Mike Daisey’s The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, the relationship between journalistic and stage truth can be fraught with conflict.

In that spirit, I’m excited to announce our closing plenary, “Theatre’s Role in Activism.” What are the challenges, sensitivities and complexities when exploring the idea of truth on stage and reflecting our society through theatre? What responsibilities are placed on artists? These questions will be discussed by a panel moderated by Emily Mann, featuring Ping Chong, Mike Daisey, KJ Sanchez and Nilaja Sun.

In a recent Update, I shared my thoughts on Daisey’s relationship to truth and activism. However you feel about those issues, I hope you will consider the possibility that there is no better way to wrestle with them than in the same room together. From the 1996 debate between Robert Brustein and August Wilson, to our conversation last year with a post-Spider-Man Julie Taymor, the Conference has always been a safe place to ask difficult questions. Will I see you there?