Jrbull

Heineken: When Pepsi Isn’t Strong Enough To Do The Trick

By now, most of us are well acquainted with Pepsi’s ad starring Kendall Jenner and the backlash Pepsi received for co-opting modern protest imagery for corporate gain (see last blog post). After that debacle, Heineken decided to jump on the PR opportunity with their own ad solving political differences with a beverage. And it seemed to […]

The Art of Exploitation for Capitalist Gain

Early last month Pepsi released this advertisement: It features Kendall Jenner solving tensions between modern protestors and police with a can of Pepsi. We’ve all seen it by now. If you’ve been on the internet within the past month you’ve at least heard of it. Saturday Night Live satirized it, social media users eviscerated it, and it was […]

Accessibility of Form

I was listening to the Royal Court Playwright’s Podcast with Simon Stephens recently in which he interviewed playwright and screenwriter Anya Reiss. They were talking about Reiss’s three-year stint writing for EastEnders, an incredibly popular British soap opera. At one point in the conversation, Stephens talks about the estimated total amount of people who have seen his most […]

Diversity in Theatre Criticism

With the firing of Charles Isherwood from the New York Times and the subsequent hiring of Jesse Green to replace him, conversations surrounding diversity in theatre criticism have emerged across major theatrical publications and platforms. When The New York Times announced Isherwood departure and the subsequent open search for someone to fill his position, the implicit question amongst […]

Topdog/Underdog Response

Topdog/Underdog (2001), Suzan-Lori Parks Pulitzer Prize winning play, explores the effects of institutional racism, masculinity, and resonances of slavery on African-American men and families. The play explores the relationship of two adult brothers, Lincoln and Booth, as they attempt to build stable lives for themselves in a culture dead set on watching them fail. Lincoln […]

‘Fearless Girl’ Statue Makes Sixth Female Executives on Board of 28

On International Women’s Day, a male-dominated global investment firm erected a statue of a nine-year-old girl across from the famous “Charging Bull” statue in New York City to draw attention to the lack of gender parity in executive positions on Wall Street. Let’s check in with State Street Global Advisors, the firm responsible for the statue, […]

Truth or Beauty?

In The Method Gun, the performers of the Rude Mechs pose this question to the audience: “Truth or Beauty?” It seems rather easy to answer. Yet when sitting in a theatre, a space predicated on finding truth through artifice and meticulously crafting beauty through forced perspective, the question becomes infinitely more complex. The truth is not objective, […]

Artifice and the Evocation of Tactile Memory

Last week I saw The New York Theatre Workshop production of The Object Lesson, created by and starring Geoff Sobelle. Upon entering the theatre space, audience members were given a sheet of instructions before entering a warehouse full of cardboard boxes and various trinkets. There is no separation between audience and playing space. Hell, it’s hard to figure […]

Art and Activism: The Gray Area

Yesterday I attended a panel of artists who’s work intersects with activism and social change. The panelists included Heidi Latsky, a choreographer who works with dancers with disabilities, Shanta Thake, the director of Joe’s Pub, Channon Judson, co-artistic director of Urban Bush Women, Jessica Bauman, a theatre director who works with refugees, and Taylor Mac, […]

Mainstream Media Accountability Survey: Round 1

Sometimes the greatest theatre happens outside theatrical spaces. This week, we are privileged enough to witness, not one, but TWO of the most excellent performative acts in the history of the world wide web, courtesy of our Commander in Chief. As we all know, the president of the United States has never been afraid of […]

Musings on a Dissertation

Thesis: a definition – the main idea, opinion, or theory of a speaker or writer, who then attempts to prove it. (Cambridge English Dictionary) If this is the definition against which I am to judge the success of my thesis, then I have failed utterly. Here we are, less than a week before my undergraduate […]

Am I the Right Person for this Job?

Last semester I wrote a post about the merits of directing outside of your own personal experience. While I still believe in those merits, I failed to acknowledge the challenges that come with adopting the voice of authority on an experience which is not your own, especially when it may be that of many of your collaborators. […]

Performativity of Religion: Christmas Edition

It’s that time of year again: houses decorated, sweaters knitted, trees killed and hauled inside dwellings made from dead trees, it smells like the holiday season. And before we gather round the fire to sip chocolate flavored powder dissolved in scalding hot water and wait with bated breath for an old man to fill our really […]

Maintaining Distance: What Revivals Teach Us About the Contemporary Moment

Over the past few months I’ve been working on a production of Marc Blitzstein’s The Cradle Will Rock, a pro-union musical written in 1937, which closed yesterday. The musical focuses on the disproportionate influence the wealthiest members of society have on public policy and consumer culture. At a time when income inequality is at its most […]

The Curious Incident of the Commodification of the Alternative

While I was in London this past semester, I spent an evening in the West End watching Simon Stephens’ stage adaptation of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. The play centers around Christopher, a young boy on the Autism Spectrum, as he solves the mystery of who killed his neighbor’s dog. Visually […]

Theatre in the Trumpian Moment

A little over a week ago, Donald Trump was elected president of the United States. As various parts of the nation have been celebrating and mourning the outcome of the election, I feel the call as a theatremaker to react to the forthcoming shift in representation and policy incredibly potently. Yet at a time when so much is […]

Storytelling Outside of Your Own Experience

“What right do you have to tell stories outside your experience?” This question crops up again and again as a director, and while it’s certainly a valid question, I’m wholly disinterested in it. Rather, I actively advocate for engaging in storytelling outside of your own experience. I think it’s essential. As a director, my job is […]

Audience Performativity

A few evenings ago, I saw Kirsten Greenidge’s Baltimore at the Boston University Theatre. Baltimore investigates how systemic structural racism affects all members of American society regardless of their race, and examines the ways in which we are complicit in perpetuating those systems. It’s full of awkward, difficult conversations that leave us with more questions without answers. The […]

Marxism with Capitalist Appeal

I love Chekhov.   A lot of people love Chekhov. My expression of this affinity adds, I’m aware, absolutely nothing to any conversation whatsoever, especially in a literary sense. And the vast majority of contemporary performance of his work is, unfortunately, both tedious and dull. Yet every once in awhile, a production ignites the motor […]

Theatre and the End of the World

Of the numerous contemporary crises that affect our world today, climate change is amongst the most pressing issues facing the global community. We’re looking at fish-less oceans as early as 2048, atmospheric levels or carbon dioxide are at an all time high, and there is scientific consensus that the spike in planetary temperature is due to human […]