A lecture on cross-racial diversity in contemporary American theatre was given by Professor Harry Elam at the diversity film festival at UCSB. Professor Elam is a well renowned professor at Stanford University and has directed several of August Wilson’s plays, including Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, Two Trains Running, and Fences, the latter of which won eight Bay Area “Choice” Awards. In my own opinion, this makes him a very good candidate to answer ethnic issues that come into play in the American theatre
Professor Elam answered questions such as; “Is the current American theatre a place where ethnic groups i.e. African Americans, Latinos, and Asians-reach across ethnic borders of difference?” and “Does or can theatre function as a microcosm of the racial dynamics that are playing out in the American social order?”
Professor Elam started by making a point that there is a relationship (interrelation) between theatre and race. He used one of August Wilson’s quote which states that “For African-Americans to move forward, they have to go back to their history so that they will be propelled”. So basically in order for them to excel perfectly in African-American theatre, they have to look back and get inspiration.
August Wilson wanted to find the African-ness in African people. He made two points about the relationship between theatre and race. The points are as follows;
* Race is inherently theatrical. The idea and issues that come along with race are very theatrical. It is a huge factor in theatre, because it sometimes determines how a play is interpreted.
* Race is a device i.e. some men use race as a device in order to be greater than other men. Some use it as a way of being favored. Race as a device has consequences e.g. you could be shot for being black in a city in Alabama, or be kidnapped for being white in Harare Zimbabwe. You could also be offered a job simply... [continues]
Cite This Essay
(2011, 08). Looking Back to Look Forward (Cross-Cultural Diversity and Today’s American Theatre). StudyMode.com. Retrieved 08, 2011, from http://www.studymode.com/essays/Looking-Back-To-Look-Forward-Cross-Cultural-762279.html
"Looking Back to Look Forward (Cross-Cultural Diversity and Today’s American Theatre)" StudyMode.com. 08 2011. 08 2011 <http://www.studymode.com/essays/Looking-Back-To-Look-Forward-Cross-Cultural-762279.html>.
"Looking Back to Look Forward (Cross-Cultural Diversity and Today’s American Theatre)." StudyMode.com. 08, 2011. Accessed 08, 2011. http://www.studymode.com/essays/Looking-Back-To-Look-Forward-Cross-Cultural-762279.html.