No Time For Tom-Foolery: What Price Do Artists of Color Pay for Artistic Integrity?
A Panel Discussion
February 26, 2011, 6 - 7:30 p.m.
The Artistic Home Theatre
3914 N. Clark St. Chicago, IL 60613
Free to the public, Seating is limited. To reserve seats, call 773-404-1100
“Would you send your son off to die?” That’s the question veteran Broadway actress Wiletta Mayer, the lead character in Alice Childress’s Obie award-winning play Trouble In Mind, poses as she wrestles with playing another “traditional” black woman onstage. Her answer to that question sends the play, and her career, into upheaval as she realizes that to be an actress, she needs to live her truth, onstage and off.
This evening, we will be exploring the idea of artistic integrity as it deals with how we, as a theatre community, represent race onstage. How does one -- an actor, a playwright, a director, a theatre company – maintain one’s own sense of artistic trueness when faced with situations we don’t personally agree? How does one create and maintain a career when the majority of artistic opportunities may be colored by stereotypes and bias? Is it ever OK to go along to get along?
Panelists for this discussion are:
Lee Bey, executive director of the Chicago Central Area Committee, an influential civic group composed of the business and cultural leaders devoted to improving the architecture, transportation, cultural life and urban design of downtown Chicago. Mr. Bey is also the force behind Lee Bey’s Soul Closest, a look back at 20th Century African American Pop Culture.
Lavina Jadhwani, Artistic Director of Rasaka Theatre Company, an Associate Artist at Silk Road Theatre Project and Premiere Theatre & Performance and an Artistic Associate at Halcyon Theatre. Ms. Jadhwani also serves on the Steering Committee for the South Asian Theatre Arts Movement. Her work with Rasaka includes directing and curating the Chicago premiere of Yoni Ki Baat and the world premiere of culture/clash, the nation’s first fully produced South Asian short play festival. Other directing credits include work at American Theatre Company, Apple Tree, Bailiwick, Chicago Dramatists, Raven Theatre, Remy Bumppo, the side project, Stage Left and Victory Gardens. Lavina received LMDA awards for her work on Merchant on Venice at Silk Road and Urinetown and Arcadia at Carnegie Mellon University. She has been a finalist for the Michael Maggio Directing Fellowship, the 3Arts Artist Awards and the Luce Scholars Program. She is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University (BFA, Drama; Masters, Arts Management) and the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy. www.lavinajadhwani.com
Vaun Monroe, director of Trouble In Mind. Mr. Monroe currently an Assistant Professor in the Film and Video Department at Columbia College Chicago where he teaches Directing, Screenwriting and Film Studies. Mr. Monroe was Artistic Director at Chicago Scriptworks and is now President of National Association of Black Screenwriters. He has taught Screenwriting and Directing workshops throughout the country, most recently at the Bronzeville Film Festival and the National Black Theater Festival.
Kathy Scambiatterra, artistic director of The Artistic Home Theatre and head of The Artistic Home Training Studio. Ms. Scambiatterra has acted in and directed numerous Artistic Home productions. Other regional credits include Steppenwolf Theater, Goodman Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Center Theater, Wisdom Bridge Theatre, Pegasus Players, Pacific Resident Theatre Ensemble, Bailiwick Repertory, Aspect and Halcyon. She has received three leading role Jeff nominations for her work in Natural Affection, Abundance, and The School of Wives as well as was honored by the Italo American National Union with the David Award.
Madrid St. Angelo, co-founder and current Artistic Director of UrbanTheater Company (Chicago). Mr. St. Angelo is a Native New Yorker and graduate of The Neighborhood Playhouse; New School of Acting, where he trained under William Alderson and Sandy Meisner. As an Award Nominated and winning actor and theatrical director, he has worked with Steppenwolf, The Goodman, Silk Road Theatre Project, Greasy Joan & Co., Vitalist Theatre, Premiere Theatre and Performance, Bailiwick and 16th St.Theatre. Currently he has directed UTC's, production of Jose Rivera's, 'Sonnets for an Old Century' currently in rep at Steppenwolf's Garage Theatre.
Ytasha L. Womack, a filmmaker, journalist and author of "Post Black: How A New Generation is Redefining African American Identity" (Lawrence Hill Books). Ms. Womack explores identity in the blog www.postblackthebook.blogspot.com.
The panel discussion will be immediately followed by the 8 p.m. performance of Trouble In Mind. Tickets can be purchased for the show at http://www.theartistichome.org/ or by calling 1-888-811-4111. All tickets are $28.