BWW Special Feature: 99 and Under the Radar; Doing Something That Matters
Welcome to 99 AND UNDER THE RADAR: A LOOK AT INDIE THEATER'S MOVERS AND SHAKERS, BroadwayWorld's new weekly series that showcases standout productions and production companies from the independent theater scene in New York City. Each week, independent producer Michael Roderick will be discussing the latest goings on in the theatrical wings, highlighting those with potentially bright futures.
This Week's Topic: Doing something that matters
Recently there have been a number of issues and concerns amongst the Indie Theatre Community on all levels. They range from personal, to environmental, to political but they all have one thing in common: Passion. These artists are passionate about their beliefs and if something is not working for them, rather than complain, they do something about it. This week we'll look at one of these brand new events.
When Glenn Beck attacked a NY Indie Theatre institution, the intrepid Adam Klasfeld decided that he was not going to take it lying down. From his letter: "As you may be aware, Glenn Beck recently devoted 10 minutes of his program to attacking The Brecht Forum, a progressive arts and education organization in the West Village. The venue has been providing space and support to a variety of plays -- including my docudrama The Report of My Death -- and has been one of the few spaces in New York that regularly hosts lectures by writers and activists like Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein and Jeremy ScahilL. Beck used a video he found of one speaker to demonize the organization and all of its members, and now they are in danger of losing institutional support. (Private donations are beginning to make up potentially canceled grants.)Since they supported my work in the past, I asked them if they wanted me to organize a festival responding to the attacks in support. They enthusiastically agreed." And within a month, the Indie community rallied around Mr. Klasfeld and together they formed the 9.13 Project.
This is a perfect example of the spirit in the Indie Community. A community that creates work that matters, that means something, and that makes a statement. From their press release: " Theater communities in New York, Philadelphia and London will stand up for Social Justice, Free Expression and against the Culture Wars in The 9.13 Project, a "Beck-lash" showcasing nine plays and 13 events in total. The name spoofs Glenn Beck's self-styled movement, The 9.12 Project, which exploits fear of terrorism, scapegoating and patriotic sentiment to push right-wing paranoia.
The theater company One Armed Man proposed "The 9.13 Project" to The Brecht Forum after learning about Glenn Beck's 10-minute rant against the Greenwich Village arts and education venue on his show in early March. "That was just too close to home," says Adam Klasfeld, artistic director of One Armed Man. "This was not just an attempt to smear on a venue that like so many in the community has supported my work. This was an attack on free expression."
Now celebrating its 35th anniversary, The Brecht Forum is a place for people who are working for social justice, equality and a new culture that puts human needs first. It offers a wide-ranging program of classes, public lectures and seminars, art exhibitions, performances, popular education workshops, and language classes. These activities are developed in collaboration with the many diverse communities of this most cosmopolitan of cities. Its programs bring together leading intellectuals, activists and artists from New York, across the U.S., and internationally."
The festival is truly a testament to what the Indie spirit can accomplish and is sure to bring forward some of the most hard-hitting theatre. One thing is certain, this will certainly be a project to watch. For more info and to get tickets before they sell out, check things out here.
The site is also filled with plenty of essays and other press hits to find out more. It's always great to see a community come together and do something groundbreaking, this will certainly be a festival to watch as this is only the beginning.
Read more of Michael's insights at www.oneproducerinthecity.typepad.com.
From This Author Michael Roderick