Theater Blog Roundup: Theater Heals When Things are Grim

Theater heals in grim times, even in grim shows, according to several theater bloggers, who are sounding a surprising note of optimism in recent posts amid the current reports of tension both in the world at large and in the theater world.

I’ve written about theater and healing before, but it’s apparently an unfamiliar concept. When I Googled “theater heals,” Google replied: “Did you meantheater heels

Emma Goldman-Sherman, the author of the new play FUKT at the Tank (a play that tells a personal story about moving on from trauma)tells Adam Szymkowicz (playwright interview 1114):
 “I fell in love with theatre early. As an abused autistic child with chronic illness, I took everything literally. So when I saw TinkerBell healed from collective applause, I realized, and fully believed, and still believe today, that theatre holds a kind of magic that gives audiences agency to create our own transformations. I had to find a way to do that.”

James Gracia and Ace Young from “Vatican Falls”

In Call Me Adam, Adam Rothenberg interviews Ace Young, the American Idol alum who is starring as a survival on sexual abuse at the hands of a Catholic priest in the play Vatican Falls by Frank J. Avella. Young says he has “survived through my own demons,” including two childhood suicide attempts.

On your Instagram, you mentioned that you decided to be in this play because you wanted be real and help others like you who are dealing or have dealt with suicide and depression. What are some tools that helped you during these dark times that may now help someone else who is struggling with suicidal thoughts or depression?

I am on this earth to take my experiences and share them with the world. I share them in hopes that you don’t have to walk my path and take my beating in order to learn my life lessons. Depression is a MONSTER if you let it take over.

In OnStage Blog, Victoria Skorobohach writes about being an actress and an introvert. She became involved in theater starting in second grade, and, though it caused him some anxiety, “when I was given a script, where the lines were written for me, and I could completely immerse myself into someone else’s mind, the anxiety didn’t seem to get in my way. The great thing about acting is that you get to become someone else, which in a way, makes it an appealing field for someone who is slightly uncomfortable in their own skin.”

In HowlRound, Talia Rodriguez describes a devised theater piece entitled “We Are All Kin to the Cove” which was performed at a cove off Vernon Blvd. in Astoria, Queens. “We need theatre to help us reconnect with each other and reconnect with the earth.”

Also in HowlRound, Morgan Skolnik introduces the phrase “disability artistry,” distinguishing it from disability visibility, arguing that “we need an active effort among audiences and artists to unpack their biases against disability and to instead embrace all that disability has to offer. As Jewish theologian Julia Watts Belser puts it ‘I fear that by conceptualizing disability primarily as an access problem to be solved, we fail to invite in the vibrant, transgressive potential of disability culture: of a ‘crip’ sensibility that celebrates disability as a way of life, a radically different way of moving through the world.’” Theater heals in this case by changing attitudes. 

The Bad Boy of Musical Theatre offers “five important things for all actors to remember, which are all easy to forget, and none of them are self-evident.”
1. Notes aren’t criticisms; they are HELP
2 Good Vibes are incredibly important in rehearsal and in the dressing room. 
3. Most actors do far more work outside rehearsal than inside rehearsal.
4. Shows evolve as they run, but they shouldn’t change
5. Nothing Matters More Than Honesty.

Rev Stan reviews “Good,” a play by Cecil Philip Taylor being produced in London starring David Tennant as an ordinary man living in Nazi Germany. “There is a brutal and uncomfortable honesty in the absence of bravery and action, the desire instead to rationalise and maintain the status quo. It leaves you questioning what it means to be good.”

Author: New York Theater

Jonathan Mandell is a 3rd generation NYC journalist, who sees shows, reads plays, writes reviews and sometimes talks with people.

1 thought on “Theater Blog Roundup: Theater Heals When Things are Grim

  1. Thanks for the shoutout! I appreciate it! Come see FUKT at the Tank. We open 10/27 and run thru 11/13. Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays at 7pm ET and Saturdays at 3pm ET – and I say ET because all the shows will live-stream, so wherever you are, you can watch it! More info here:

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