At The Table on Cast and Loose

Cast and Loose typically curates problematic breakdowns "with the hopes of shedding a humorous light on some very serious issues in the Entertainment Industry: misogyny, racism, ageism, body shaming, heteronormativity, and objectification to name a few."

We'd like to thank them for taking a brief detour from their usual programing to feature and op ed about At The Table.

Check it out below:

2 Straight White Guys and The New York Times

For those of you who come to CastAndLoose to blow off breakdown steam, I apologize for diverging a bit, but something has happened in the downtown NY theater scene that is not only unfortunate, but strikes on the themes and problems in the entertainment industry, on which I hope to shed some light with this Tumblr.

To be upfront from the start, I am biased. I like Fault Line Theatre a lot. I like the guys who run it, I like the work they produce, I like that they pay their actors, I like that they support new work and new writers. And I like their current offering at HERE Arts CenterAt The Table, and I’m hugely disappointed in The New York Times for their review

Though generally an ensemble piece, this play closely follows the emotional arch of a black woman - a voice grossly underrepresented on NY stages. There is a gay, Trinidadian man, a half Asian woman, a bisexual man, another gay man. And there are two straight, white guys. But the New York Times reviewer (aside from apparently having never attended a play in the round before) only managed to comment on and name the two straight, white guys. Even the picture they chose to run with the article is of three white guys.

Reviews are, of course, part of the game in theater. Reviewers play an important role in the commerce of the stage, and no one more so than a reviewer for the New York Times. That is not to say that audiences don’t put their faith in the talented writers at Variety, TimeOut NY, Entertainment Weekly and other sources as well, but the New York Times has been, and continues to be, the most powerful written factor in whether or not a show is well attended. 

That means, then, that a downtown production - into which a small, persevering company has thrown a lot of hard earned dollars - lives or dies by the words of the Times. Where, in the case of this review, these particular words so wholly bypassed the underrepresented voices present in the production, and focused primarily on the reviewer’s poor choice of a seat, the theater company loses out, readers and audience members lose out, those unheard voices lose out. We all lose out. 

Go see At The Table. Who knows, you might not like it - I don’t really care. Go see it. Go see it to take the power away from The Times. Go see it to support unheard voices. Hell, go see it to support downtown theaters that pay their actors. But don’t let this reviewer’s inability to see anything but two straight, white guys quash a great night of theater.

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