How much activity can two days hold?
On Monday of last week, the extraordinary artists and theatre people who make up our board met in New York City for our spring meeting. After a fertile discussion about our unfolding strategic plan, many of us journeyed to the Jerome L. Greene Performance Space for our 4th Playwrights in Conversation event, featuring David Henry Hwang in conversation with Oskar Eustis. David has been published by TCG since FOB, a play that began in a dorm production at Stanford University (our shared alma mater) before Joe Papp took a chance on it at the Public Theater. Watch the video archive of the event on our website.
The next day, our board meeting continued, culminating that night in our fourth Salon Evening at the Players Club. Sondra Gilman, André De Shields, John Epperson (aka Lypsinka) and Roche Schulfer led an energized and honest conversation about what it means to be a theatre artist today. Borne up by two days of bold thinking and warm community, I was reminded of this quote from De Shields’ 2007 commencement address at the University of Wisconsin:
“Now we are awakening to a belief system that emphasizes the interconnectedness of all things. We are beginning to realize the inherent unity in our richly diverse world. And by doing so we are discovering unlimited power, infinite potential and profound purpose, not in some distant utopia or the revision of an old system, but now.”
Add the word “theatre” between “diverse” and “world,” and you’d have an apt description of TCG’s aspirational currents these days. We must also champion that inherent unity abroad, with artists from Turkey to Canada recently struggling to maintain their freedom of expression.
We must look within our own borders, as well, to lift up those whose creative voices remain disenfranchised. In his I AM THEATRE video, Luis Valdez recalls the founding of El Teatro Campesino out of migrant workers’ struggles for justice in the 1965 Delano grape strike. When he says, “yo soy teatro,” I am charged with the power and the responsibility of living up to his example. ¡Todos somos teatro!