I think a lot about representation in the Theater. I think a lot about how as a brown, queer, not skinny, female, I am a special thing to see on stage in front of audiences. That I am different and that in addition to these identities, I have much to offer as an actor and theater artist. I also have recently come to realize how important my voice is to any creative process because I am a human living in these intersections.
So is this where I meet the issue of representation in the theater?
I am then, very specific, and apt to being over looked or erased by a white-washed entertainment and theater industry.
Is my task then to tell my stories? To infuse myself and my stories into the theater world so that the human race can see, acknowledge, know, and celebrate the other colors of the human spectrum?? And to also promote/highlight/empower other people of color, women, and trans folks to do the same?
Yeeees. I like the sound of that. I also find it to be very doable. So where do I start? And How do I do this?
Well, right here at the SOT. And the how of process has just begun in my experiences devising in “The Identity Project”, of which I am 1 of 5 people of color in a room of 18 white collaborators.
These past weeks we have been in the process of building content for what will eventually be a completed piece about the intricacies of human identity. The process thus far has been thrilling and difficult. Being in a room with predominantly white people, I found myself in a microcosm of myself in this University and the world at large: A minority. I found initially that in large group contemplations, my voice and the voice of the 4 other minorities in the room began to feel silenced. Yet, that was quickly turned around when the elephant in the room, white privilege, was addressed and the room decided to engage in the discomfort of what that conversation brings. It was as if the recognition of privilege gave way to further specificity in people’s identities and stories: namely, experiences like mine were given opportunity to surface in an organic manner. From the beginning of this process I was very excited to tell my stories, to explore the intersections of all of our identities, and to work collaboratively to do so. Interestingly enough, within the collaborative process, I have found that giving the minority story-teller ample space for exploration and self-empowerment, is the key to the story coming to life. The process is delicate and nuanced because it is much easier than I thought to run with what people in a group have in common when creating content. As we move forward, I aim to have a specific attention to the tailoring of specific and unique stories about our ensemble’s identity. To give space where space is needed, and to take space as well as I continue my journey of personal and artistic self-empowerment.