Tuesday, August 31, 2010

"The world we're living is getting worse, not better."

Everybody line up for a wrist-smacking by the master:
Today's dramatists are failing to confront issues of injustice, writing instead "for attention spans of 10 minutes between adverts", leading political playwright Athol Fugard has said.
It's risky to decry changes in form as simply a decline in quality (I'm not sure I would still want to be doing day-long passion plays simply because that's how we started), I'm not going to discount the thoughts of someone whose work was so dangerous to the status quo it endangered the lives of that artist and his collaborators.
Fugard was a courageous dramatic voice throughout the apartheid era in his native South Africa, enduring censorship, police surveillance, phone-tapping and raids. He was the first to put black and white actors together on the South African stage.

Fugard, 78, is still writing and directing – a new play premieres in Britain this autumn. Speaking to the Guardian, he said he wants "to pass on the baton" to the next generation but is dismayed by a general failure to engage with political issues.

He applauded some of the "extraordinary" political work that has emerged from British and American theatre, singling out Sir David Hare for praise. But he added: "They're not doing enough … at the moment. The world we're living is getting worse, not better."

Playwrights are not adequately confronting subjects such as China's dictatorship and its new colonialism, which are "without significant protest", nor the decline of western morality, African leaders like Robert Mugabe, or drug abuse worldwide, he said.
The first thing of note is that your correspondent's writing is not nearly at a level to change the world, as Fugard's did -- so I'm operating at a disadvantage. Second, I'm not sure that art has to be profound to be good. But in our short experience, we have found that the moment one's focus turns to the marketing of a play, or its reception, the immediate consequence is that the work itself suffers. What artistes so disdainfully call "commercial concerns" do threaten quality if only because the mind can't accommodate being both perceiver and perceived. So of course he's right.

[The Guardian]

Friday, August 20, 2010

new podcast episode

A new episode of the COI podcast is (finally) ready for download. As always, there are three ways to listen:

(1) Stream the episode below

(2) Visit our podcast page and listen online:conflicttheater.podOmatic.com

(3) iTunes users can click this link

Thursday, August 19, 2010

because marginalizing minorities always ends well

From the Plus ca Change Desk:

France expelled nearly 100 Gypsies, or Roma, to their native Romania on Thursday as part of a very public effort by conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy to dismantle Roma camps and sweep them out of the country, the Immigration Ministry said.

France chartered a flight to Bucharest, which left from the southeastern city of Lyon with 79 Roma aboard, Immigration Ministry officials said.


Sarkozy's crackdown on Gypsies came on the heels of much-publicized unrest by French Roma, who attacked a police station in the center of the country after the death of Gypsy youth there. The measures are also part of a raft of new hard-line security measures by Sarkozy, who won election in 2007 on a tough-on-crime platform.

The policy is attracting increasing concern, both at home and abroad, from those who fear it discriminates against one of the European Union's most vulnerable and impoverished communities.
The original plan had them crammed into freight trains -– but at the last minute Immigration officials remembered that’s what they did last time.

[via Yahoo News/AP]

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

the COI podcast returns this weekend

After an unanticipated summer break, the COI podcast will return this weekend with part three of Jason Andrew Updike's "Avalon." The final episode of that original work will follow shortly thereafter, and after that -- what you've all been waiting for... the COI podcast live recordings from this summer's BoCoCa Arts Festival.

Yup, get excited.

Also, some housekeeping -- if you're a regular visitor to the podcast page, you might notice som gaps in the episode list. Well, the reason for that is hosting fees -- the files are expensive to maintain, so we're reverting to a "greatest hits" format...after a few weeks, we'll only be leaving up the most popular episodes for download.

If you want to keep a complete set on your computer, your best bet is to get on iTunes and subscribe now!

Monday, August 16, 2010

sausage gets made, special Monetizing Emma edition

Playwright Felipe Ossa and dramaturg Sergei Burbank at the final run-through for Monetizing Emma:

Monetizing Emma was originally staged as part of the 2009 Planet Connections Festivity, where it won a boatload of awards (to the point of crowding out Wrestling the Alligator in some categories, ahem ahem), and it now being remounted as part of the 2010 NYC International Fringe Festival.

With us having this much fun in rehearsal, how could you resist? Tickets are still on sale. Only five performances left, and the next performance is tomorrow.

(They're going fast, so hurry.)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Monetizing Emma returns

In case you missed it during its critically acclaimed, sellout run at the 2009 Planet Connections Festivity -- Monetizing Emma is back, and it OPENS TOMORROW! Directed by lass="blsp-spelling-error" id="SPELLING_ERROR_0">COItc's very own Leah Bonvissuto and with the entire original cast, Felipe Ossa's outstanding play was preciously prescient a year ago. It's terrifyingly right-on-target now.

But don't take my word for it: take a gander:

This pirated version is our personal favorite, though:

Monetizing Emma runs from August 14 - 25 at HERE Arts Center in New York City. Get your tickets now.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

belated congratulations

We are way overdue in recognizing the work of COItc's resident graphic designer, Eunice Inquimboy, whose brilliant postcard design won Outstanding Postcard Design at this month's Planet Connections Festivity Awards, recognizing her brilliant work for War Crimes. She was the only winner of our bevy of nominees -- all of whom were quite deserving -- but we're especially proud that her great work was recognized.

The War Crimes postcard was so good, so innovative, we can't even replicate it on the internet. It lived in three dimensions -- if you were lucky enough to be on COItc's mailing list, you got a piece of history in your mailbox in June. If not, well, remedy that right away: join our mailing list by dropping us a line -- conflictinfo [at] gmail [dot] com.