She uses a famous August Wilson quote about “colorblind” casting as a jumping off point:
Colorblind casting is an aberrant idea that has never had any validity other than as a tool of the Cultural Imperialist who views their American Culture, rooted in the icons of European Culture, as beyond reproach in its perfection. It is inconceivable to them that life could be lived and even enriched without knowing Shakespeare or Mozart. Their gods, their manners, their being is the only true and correct representation of humankind.
Philana argues that often “colorblind'” casting often ignores an actor’s color rather than bring additional meaning to the character and story. “(It) comes to mean that the actor, cast, and audience are essentially pretending the actor is white,” she says. Philana asks her fellow playwrights to expand and explore what “colorblind” means. “What happens when someone is denied part of his or her identity? What are the consequences? What are the benefits?” Playwrights are free to incorporate these questions, but not necessarily apply them to color/racial identity.
Show is October 23rd, 11pm, in the Hahne Black Box theater. Admission is free. We recommend you get there 45 to 60 minutes ahead of time to assure yourself a seat.
For more information about Madness this fall semester, check out our Madness page.
Philana Omorotionmwan was born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She uses writing to create images that explore the the intersections of race, gender, class, and sexuality. Her short plays have been produced at Ensemble Studio Theater, Manhattan Theatre Source, and Berkeley Rep. Her poems have been published in New Delta Review and African American Review. Philana earned her BA from Stanford University and is excited to be pursing an MFA here at OU. You can find out more about her work at philanaplays.weebly.com.
Buzz 22 Chicago’s synopsis of GHOST BIKE: Ora and Eddie fell in love with Chicago on their bikes. But when Eddie is hit by a car and killed, Ora refuses to let him go. Instead, she rides beneath our city to bring him back, facing off against underworld gods and ghosts -some interested in helping her, some determined to get in her way. The more difficult her journey becomes, the more Ora must question what it is she’s journeying towards. In Ghost Bike, Chicago culture skitches off of Greek, African, and Chinese mythology, sparking a spirited mash-up of underworld and after-life as seen from the seats of fixies, BMX’s and ten-speeds.
Ghost bikes can be found in Chicago and in cities all over the country. Learn more about them at http://ghostbikes.org/chicago.
From their website: “Ghost Bikes are made from bikes and bike parts which are no longer rideable, painted all white, and installed where cyclists were killed by motorists. They are grim but necessary reminders of the hazards cyclists face on our roadways. They remember the victim and raise awareness of the need to combat reckless and aggressive driving and fix our streets to be safer for all users.”
OU MFA Alum, Mark Chrisler, had a play run at this year’s Rhinofest in Chicago. The Chicago Reader’s, Zac Thompson, highlighted Chrisler’s play “Phones, Frauds, and Fakes.”
In Chrisler’s Phonies, Frauds, and Fakes, the writer-performer reads from a script while seated at a table, Spaulding Gray style. What starts as a witty lecture on history’s biggest lies soon morphs into the fascinating story of Chrisler’s four-year involvement with a girlfriend who turned out to be a pathological liar. As he relates how he fell for one whopper after another, Chrisler is insightful on self-deception and the way great liars exploit our willingness to believe what we want to believe, even when the truth is staring us in the face.
Congratulations to one of our newest alums, Jeremy Sony; he was recently announced as one of the four 2013-2014 Ingram New Works Lab Playwrights at Tennessee Repertory Theatre! The program consists of monthly workshops, a lab symposium with this year’s Ingram New Works Fellow, Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Doug Wright, as well as a new works festival in May.
Reginald Edmund has been nominated for a Black Theater Alliance Best Play Award for writing, for REGINALD EDMUND’S SOUTHBRIDGE, produced earlier this year at Chicago Dramatists. The play, originally developed at OU was the National Runner-up for the Kennedy Center’s Lorraine Hansberry and the Rosa Parks Awards in 2009, Winner of the Southern Playwrights Competition in 2011, and the Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award Winner in 2013. Congratulations!!
N. Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago seems to be a hotspot for OU alums. Fiona Kyle’s I WILL NOT LET YOU GO is being presented Monday, August 5th as part of a night of new works as part of Something Incredibly Marvelous Happens, A Festival of Magical Realism. More details available at http://somethingmarvelous.org/#events
This Sunday, August 4th, in Chicago, alumna Dana Lynn Formby has a reading of her new comedy UNTIL DEATH at Silent Theatre new HQ space, 1914 N. Milwaukee, 3rd floor at 5:00 PM. It’s FREE. Fine spirits will be available for a suggested donation. Until Death is part of the American Demigods Local Heroes reading series, running every Sunday in August.