The Old Globe's Powers New Voices Festival Champions Fresh Perspective
Speaker 1: 00:00 The pandemic has made business as usual impossible in the arts community, but a local festival has changed the way it connects with the audience and aims to make the art of playwriting along with community voices, more accessible in the moment, the old Globes eighth annual power's new voices festival kicks off its first day today with the celebrating community voices reading, where we can all see short works Rutan during the pandemic by local emerging playwrights. Joining me to talk about everything this year's festival will offer and how you can join the audience is Lamar Perry, the old Globes artistic associate Lamar. Welcome, and thanks for joining us. Thank you so much for having me today. So there are so many voices in theater and so many existing plays. Why does it matter to bring in local voices to create new work? Speaker 2: 00:50 One of the first things to say is, as we're in this moment of trying to figure out what does theater look like on the other side of the pandemic? You know, we've, we've recognized that the industry is having a national and a global reckoning, uh, with social justice, um, and social justice also starts at home. You know, I think there's a very distinct contrast between how American theaters of a certain caliber have produced in the past. Uh, and when we're trying to reckon with involving our community doing right by the community, that we're a part of and understanding that in our mission, uh, it is important to, to truly be a neighbor to those who are in and around San Diego. Um, I think uplifting those voices who are also considering the population in San Diego, traditionally marginalized is not only important, but like pertinent to this moment in the American theater. Speaker 2: 01:44 And I think in the country at large, you know, so many people have not had access traditionally to, to, to the same spaces and so saving resources and the old globe is currently trying to, to enter into a phase and has been in a phase, I will say, because we've been doing this work for years, um, of spotlighting the community of using our resources of sharing access. Um, so much of the restorative justice that we're talking about is about redistributing the resources that have been disproportionately placed in private white institutions and reinvesting them in our community members. Speaker 1: 02:19 And tell us about who the artists are and their work being presented during this festival. Speaker 2: 02:24 There's a wide swath of artists. So we have Jose Cruz Gonzalez who our San Diego audience will recognize. He is the playwright behind American mariachi, which was a smash it for the globe. I think my first year here back in 2018, uh, who's working on under a baseball sky, his current commission with the globe. Uh, we also have this beautiful adaptation of Fuente over Huna by Lopez Vega, which has been translated by San Diego's very own Danielle Jaquez. Who's also directing, uh, community voices features, and it's primarily spotlighting the soul kiss, a theater, which is a joint venture between the arts engagement department, uh, and our community partners, um, which focuses on highlighting the voices and the work of, of black who are women and black playwrights and artists, um, and so many others. Um, but I will say there, there's a focus this year, particularly on, on Brown and black, Latin X, uh, playwrights and artists and in supporting their work. And again, making sure that as we move forward, we're continuing to use our resources to, to give voice and space to these artists Speaker 1: 03:33 So much will be offered. And, you know, considering this event is virtual, how is that impacting how the work is presented? Speaker 2: 03:40 Yeah, I think right now virtual theater is a thing. It's how we've adapted in the moment. It lacks some of the magic of being in a space together, breathing together, going on a journey together. But I do think that in the 10 months, since the global originally shut down, we figured out what this new magic is. And it's a hybrid virtual theater is, is this combination of acting and directing for television and film while also maintaining the integrity of, of what feeder and those basic tenants are. Um, I think overall where we're hoping and recognizing that, trying to push for normalcy is not the goal right now. Like what is normal in a pandemic? How do you accomplish that? Uh, I think we're just reckoning with the fact that we still want to figure out how to extend grace and kindness and humanity and stories that are about love and relationships and just how we relate to each other as people, which I think is such an important comment to make right now, um, in the midst of a global pandemic. So here we have this new platform, this Hoppin that we're using, uh, to, to really, I think, continue to do the things the old globe always does and does so well, which is to figure out how to get you to sit next to your neighbor and to see them and take them in. While you go on a journey Speaker 1: 05:04 On Saturday, the festival focuses on an evening with the San Diego black artists collective. Tell us about that program. Speaker 2: 05:11 Yeah. So the evening with the San Diego black arts collective is the first of many joint ventures with the San deal, black artists collective, uh, the collective itself, I want to say started our first started meeting around January of 2020, prior to the pandemic prior to any of what we're currently existing in, um, around the, our production of Jitney. So a group of artists got together, uh, from, from the glow, from the Playhouse from common ground, from so many of the different black spaces here in town just to, to build community. Um, I think it's really easy to be disparate and working in your own silos, even within a large town like San Diego. Uh, and there was really a sense that a want for let's all come together. And then unfortunately, as we watched 2020 unfold, we had the advent of the pandemic. We watched the brutal killings of Rihanna, Taylor of George Floyd. Speaker 2: 06:06 We watched so much black death, black pain, black violence happened. The collective really had no other choice, I think, to figure out how to respond, not only artistically, but just as human beings, as black people who exist in this world, what can we do? What are we doing? What do we want to say? Um, and the globe and social justice work saw this organization and decided to partner with them. So the globe has dedicated an entire evening to the collective, which I've been co-producing, uh, with my peer, Karen and Daniels. Who's an alum of the globe and currently works at the public theater. In addition to the Globes associate artistic director of freedom, Bradley Ballantine, and in consultation with San Diego favorites and beloved director, Delecia Turner Sonnenberg. And really we've just been focusing on what, what is it that black voices want to stay in the moment? Speaker 2: 06:55 You know, so many of the conversations that we have in the collective are about black liberation. And what does black liberation look like? Black liberation looks like so many different things, but it isn't actually accomplished. So black women, black trans women are centered and protected in the same way that CIS, hetero black men are. So, so much of what you're going to hear in the festival are black women telling their own stories outside of the narratives of their pain and their trauma that we often see in the media. We get to see black women engaging in relationships. We get to see black women loving and living and experiencing outside of the, this notion of back breaking bone, breaking pain, and strength that they have to have. But I think it's really important to contextualize that black women, black people deserve to be told as more than just superheroes, that narrative, that image that we're so strong. Speaker 2: 07:45 And so unbreakable leads and continues and perpetuates the violence that we often experienced in this country. And I think specifically in this moment of COVID, when we're at home and have such easy access to social media, to news stories, to video clips, I think we've all really witnessed the, the truth of the violence that black people in this country have experienced. And, and part of the goal of this this evening with the collective I think is to, is to push back is to counter, is to reposition it's, to acknowledge that all of those things are true. And also to acknowledge that we've never lost our hope that we have always been human. And not that we are trying to humanize ourselves to other people that is their work, but that we are here. And we deserve to tell our own stories and talk about our heritage in a way that it is truthful to us, Speaker 1: 08:32 What an opportunity to expand that conversation and expose those issues to, uh, various audiences for more information about the old Globes powers, new play festival, which begins tonight at 7:00 PM, go to our website, kpbs.org. And I've been speaking with the old Globes artistic associate Lamar Perry, Lamar. Thank you so much for joining us. Speaker 2: 08:55 Thank you so much for having me this morning. I really appreciate it.