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Archive for the ‘Residency’ Category

“Self Identification” from Bernardo Mazón

In Administration, Audience Development, Fellowship, Human Resources, Literary, Residency, Shakespeare Dramaturgy Residency, Uncategorized on May 16, 2017 at 5:33 PM

/var/folders/84/dy2qtnz13wddhtx39pw3vr1h0000gn/T/com.apple.iChat/Messages/Transfers/IMG_3700.JPG.jpegMy first sit-down with my supervisor, I tell her, “I want to make a lasting contribution here, what can I do” and she is like, “I know just the thing.” A few more discussions later, and I’m writing a thesis for a research project based on this company’s progression with the equity, diversity, & inclusion movement. I’m setting out to examine how successful the organization has been in terms of hiring and representation onstage/offstage. As I’m crafting this proposal and preparing to share it with jefes here, I step back for a moment and think about the problems I’ll face in collecting data.

Por ejemplo, incomplete records. Sometimes information is archived selectively; we can’t see the whole picture. There’s also tokenism. Quizás we CAN see the whole picture, but there’s no way of knowing if someone was hired based on their merit or for liberal bragging rights. I’m not saying there’s something wrong with the latter, as there is a difference between equity and equality, but the point is that sometimes a step forward is followed by several steps back. It’s common for situations like this to be followed by a long and dreary dryspell of hiring straight, able-bodied white men again—back to the old ways. The greatest obstacle, though, is the following:

Self-identification.

Which is self-explanatory. It’s not enough, no, it’s not right for us to determine a person’s ethnic or gender from their appearance. Furthermore, it’s not like you can do a google search on any given name and see what that person is, because identity is an intimate thing. It ought to be shared, but not necessarily put on display. Therefore, por lo tanto, it’d be unfair (not to mention, crazy wrong) for me to go through a company’s history of hiring and make inferences off their picture. “Are they masculine or are they feminine”, “Their skin is dark, so they’re black”, “Oh, this dude must be Latino, oops, Latinx”, “I can’t see if they’re unable to hear” etc.

Back to my story. Entonces, I have this lump in my throat knowing that my research project is destined for turbulence. When I present my idea to the jefes, I leave out my concerns for fear of sounding too complicated. I neglect my politics in hopes for approval.

Seguramente, the responses are essentially, “Great, except…”. They’re receptive but skeptical. They point out exactly the same ethical difficulties I’d experience, and I’m in quiet awe.

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it otra vez: I feel like I’m finally in America. Y eso es porque “self-identification” was not something we knew of in my hometown. Mexican border politics tend to enforce nationalities onto people (and don’t get me started on the Arabic diaspora, for I don’t know enough, but I do feel). The culture I come from doesn’t invite you to decide what you are and how the world ought to see it—let alone celebrate it. And here they are, celebrating it like champions.

Joining the parade, 

Bernardo Mazón
FAIR Literary Resident
Oregon Shakespeare Festival
My pronouns: He/Him/His
American

 

P.S. As a chavalillo, I didn’t like story time at school, because most of the books they chose seemed far-away and unimportant to me. They’d either be about animalitos, fairy tales, or some condescending sh*t talking down to little kids. Every now and then, though, they’d pick books that were about people. And they had a multicultural selection. Pictures of people owning their origins. Those books, those were my favorite thing.

“It’s the Little Things” from Atesede Makonnen

In Atesede Makonnen, Residency, Shakespeare Dramaturgy Residency on January 23, 2014 at 6:49 PM

Atesede Makonnen 1.15

My first blog post is about Ashland. It’s a town quiet in ways I expected but vibrant in ways I didn’t see coming. Walking down the main streets, I’m reminded of small New England villages but a quick glance around offers a glimpse of a quickness that’s purely west coast! Shakespearean puns litter the store signs and when I look up (when there’s no fog creeping around) I see a ring of mountains, lovely and near.  A strange place for a Shakespeare festival and yet a strangely perfect one, especially as it continues to bring new plays to its line up. Its isolation lends itself to intense focus on the plays in production, something I’ve noticed in rehearsal.

One thing I’ve noticed is what has been said about diversity is quite true and in unexpected ways. I’m used to being a minority (I went to school in a small town of New Hampshire) but I was surprised by how lacking in some ways Ashland is in being friendly to POC. Trying to find hair oil of all things really brought that home to me. It reminds me of something said at our diversity mixer – on stage, diversity is coming through loud and clear in a new and exciting way. But in the more mundane aspects of life here, Ashland can be a bit behind, population-wise and in the little things, like catering to POC hair needs.

Nonetheless, I’m enjoying the town, its people, and Oregon as a whole. I can’t wait to explore more!

“The Yin and Yang” from Wind Woods

In Literary, Residency, Wind Woods on January 7, 2013 at 3:48 AM

yinYang

The Yin and the Yang, the present and the future, hope and hopelessness, woken life or wrapped in the mystical qualities of a dream – there are always two trains running, with three distinct options: 1) to stay or 2) board train #1 or 3) board train #2. Whether these trains lead to love or loneliness, success or failure, dreams achieved or dreams deferred, with every choice we must tote the heavy baggage of history. The weight of this baggage increases the depth of the footprints we leave in the soil. This weight skews our sight as we strain to decipher the road map that marks our future.

Wilson’s plays are haunted with the spirit of history, encamped in the state of the present, and actively involved in the creation of what is yet to come. Two Trains Running forces us as artists and audience to wrestle with the dimensions of the past, present, and future. Wilson in each scene draws attention to the interconnectivity of the “now”, “back when”, and “someday” and demonstrates how dependent these three temporal settings are to each other and to understanding our position in the world. We, as well as the characters in the play, are a product of this time triad.

In the rehearsal room and in the world of the play, we are forced to go back before we go forward. As Memphis states “Ain’t no need in keeping running, ‘cause if you get to the end zone it ain’t gonna be a touchdown [if you dropped the ball].” We must all go back to our own individual past, retrace our own personal journey. Before there were tracks in the ground there were foot prints and dirt paths to follow, most of them now washed away by wind and rain.

The setting of Two Trains is a location where paths cross, a transfer station on the way to someplace else. There are many places like this in the world, where travelers stop, nourish themselves and ready for more travel, more life. When we arrive at the crossroad, the transfer station, we are met with the questions: Where are we? Where have we come from? And where do we want to go? If we miss a train, we catch the next one, but we cannot stand idle in the present forever. So we board, finding a destination that excites or frightens us, some simply get in the first line they see, some may flip a coin. We hope that the seats are comfortable and the service is good, but once the train jolts into motion we are all transported in different directions. The next stop might vary for us all, but the nature of the journey is always the same. We leave, and sometime in the future we arrive. For no matter what train we take, what direction the train heads, what souvenirs we collect along the way, we are in the end caught in the tragic irony of time and existence. We all, at one time or another must board that final train, an unavoidable final stop on the line. One person’s final destination might be another’s initial point of departure. They board, take their seat, perhaps come across something a fellow traveler has left behind, a partially completed crossword puzzle, a receipt, a hat or a scarf. The item may remind them of how alike everyone’s journey is.

FAIR 2012

In Assistantship, Fellowship, Internship, Residency on February 3, 2012 at 11:56 PM

Hello FAIR 2012!  It’s going to be such an exciting season here in Ashland.  Not only are there eleven amazing shows to be a part of, but any number of theatrical opportunities!  Be sure to follow us on facebook as we embark on this remarkable adventure! Tickets are on sale now – Previews begin  February 17th

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