In this series, we’ll be discussing the way art, theater in particular, is an integral part of our civic lives, allowing us to question and inform our conceptions of citizenship and community. We will discuss various theatrical productions, both at the USC School of Dramatic Arts and in theaters in Los Angeles. We think about what the plays / productions / performances are saying about our society & culture.
Lorca in the Desert
In this episode, Marlene Forte, Aubrey Hicks, Oliver Mayer, and John Sonego take a look at one of the more influential Spanish playwrights of the early 20th century: Federico García Lorca. We discuss theatre and politics, the staying power of Lorca's work, and a new adaptation of Yerma coming to LA theatre near you. Listen to a conversation about Latinas and the strength of female characters, sexuality, the politics of theatre, and why you should put your phone down and go see Yerma in the Desert today.
Urban Theatre Movement in Residency at Greenway Court Theatre presents:
Yerma in the Desert
11/17 – 12/16
By Oliver Mayer
Based on YERMA by Federico García Lorca
Directed by Edgar Landa & Marlene Forte
For links and more check out the showpage.
Metatheatre: Reflections & Civic Life
For the second season of Policy at the Playhouse, we're switching things up. Rather than addressing one performance of one play, we'll be looking at the larger themes in theatre as it can pertain to our civic lives. This episode will look at how two plays being performed here on campus this Fall: Passion Play by Sarah Ruhl, and Circle Mirror Transformation by Annie Baker.
In this episode, Aubrey Hicks, Oliver Mayer, Christopher Shaw, and John Sonego examine "how, over time, the rituals that we enact color, reflect, refract back upon who we are, at any time - politically, culturally," as Oliver points out so poetically. These two plays feature characters whose creative work reflects back onto their civic and personal lives. Will these plays, theatre in general, help a polarized country learn to spend time with each other, and listen? Can theatre help us make order from chaos? What can they reflect about America today?
For more, check out the showpage (https://bedrosian.usc.edu/policy-playhouse/metatheatre-reflections-and-civic-life)
As Princeton freshman students, Tom has a strong sense of his good looks; Amber wants acknowledgement from her peers that she is pretty. They meet at a party, they drink, and the boundaries become blurred. The issue of consent is a central theme of Actually, (play written by Anna Ziegler, directed at the Geffen by Tyne Rafaeli) and how the issue evolves depends largely on what each character's experience has been. Does handsomeness bring privilege? Does a strong support system determine privilege? Gender dynamics, race, societal perceptions, measures of success all come into question and the conversation will have a lifetime affect not only on the characters but the audience as well.
Memories play tricks and recall can change. For Tom and Amber, there is dissonance in their story but not in the concrete activity. In this podcast, Aubrey Hicks, LaVonna Lewis, Oliver Mayer, and John Sonego discuss the themes and how familial background/experiences can modify a truth.
John Strand's The Originalist shines a light onto a polarizing Supreme Court Justice; Antonin Scalia. When a bright, liberal law school graduate embarks on a nerve-wracking clerkship with Justice Scalia, she discovers him to be both an infuriating sparring partner and an unexpected mentor.
Listen as Jody David Armour, Oliver Mayer, Jon Sonego, and Jade Wheeler delve into the play and discuss about the politics of the characters, Originalism, civil rights, civic duty, and what it means to be an American. We seek to look at the line between complicity in oppression of others and the attempt to absolve the complicity by attempting to form personal relationships with the oppressed. Is there a line between a complex individual and a monster? Should you go out and see this play when it comes to town?
The Hotel Play
On April 29, 1992, Los Angeles erupted into chaos and violence after four white police officers were acquitted in the beating of African American Rodney King. The Hotel Play asks what, if anything, has changed in the past 25 years?
Throughout this conversation we look at the Rodney King beating trial and verdict in context of the social justice movement in Los Angeles and ask not only what role does art play in the movement, but whether things have indeed gotten better. Join Jody David Armour, Paula Cizmar, Aubrey Hicks, and David Sloane as we think about race, Los Angeles, art, and social movements. We look at the moment that was the uprising in 1992 and how community organizing that grew out of that moment became a movement.
For links to some of the things discussed on this podcast, go to the showpage at https://bedrosian.usc.edu/policy-playhouse/the-hotel-play/
Facing Our Truth
Following the 2012 death of Trayvon Martin, the trial and eventual acquittal of George Zimmerman, New York-based theatre company The New Black Fest responded by hiring a diverse group of accomplished playwrights to write about themes of race and privilege in America. What resulted are six gorgeous 10-minute plays, some hilarious, some sorrowful: Facing Our Truth: Ten Minute Plays on Treyvon, Race and Privilege.
Join us for our second episode of Policy at the Playhouse, as we turn to the state of race in America and the question of the role of theatre in civic discourse.