Friday, February 09, 2007

False Creeds

So I have to admit, one of the things I really dig about theatre is that sometimes I learn about events in history that I might not have otherwise ever known about. I really think this is one of the powerful things about theatre, movies, and just storytelling in general. And this is the case right now with a play that we are about to open called False Creeds.

It’s just cool to occasionally have that “if we were not producing this play I would have never known about this” feeling.

False Creeds is about The Tulsa Race Riot of 1921.
You can read about the event on Wikipedia if you are so inclined.

Darren Canady, the playwright of False Creeds, just recently graduated from school and this is his first play to be produced. The play is the winner of our Kendeda Graduate Playwriting Competition which is an annual contest that we have that (WARNING! Marketing lingo ahead) supports our commitment to fostering the next generation of playwrights. Every year, we invite graduating seniors in playwriting from the top universities across the country to submit a script to us. The plays are judged on a variety of levels and then the winner’s play is actually produced as part of our following season.

Our competition is a one of a kind program in the U.S. It normally takes a playwright about 10 years to get their name on the map and we take someone just out of school and give them a full scale production. We treat the play just as we treat any other play that we do – all the way from the sets and costumes to the marketing.

Darren found out about the Tulsa Riots from his grandmother, who was living near Tulsa at the time and remembers refugees coming into town as a result of the riots. What I like is that the story of these riots has rarely been told. And many argue that the story has just plain been covered up over the years.

Anyway, it is a reminder of one of the great benefits of theatre. Granted, I still don’t think that selling theatre tickets means as much to me as potentially serving street kids and orphans in South America. But still. It’s nice to remember that plays can be both entertaining AND educational.

Darren is also blogging about his experience if you care to learn more in his own words.

I usually just get excited about the big commercial musicals but it’s nice to be reminded that it can be about so much more than that.

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