Something Rotten at The Fabulous Fox in St. Louis is a entertaining masterpiece that does cause the average black girl to go, "Huh....?" at bits that seem to be missing the mark. It will be closing at The Fox this Sunday which is a bit saddening. If you haven't seen it yet. Get yourself to a theatre near you and check it out. That is... If you like theatre, musicals, slightly whitewashed plays. Oh yeah. I'm going there.
I work at The Fox so for weeks, months sometimes I'm staring at advertisments from different shows that will be coming to the Fox or other venues around the St. Louis and St. Charles area. That said the posters of the "Something Rotten" cast had only two smiling black faces and no other minority in sight I knew there was a statement there. However, I hadn't seen or read "Something Rotten" at the time so all I was left to do was speculate. Were their bulging crotches of pants a symbol of male ego done by the costume director? Was the black girl holding buckets a deliberate message? Was the black guy with the jazz hands a minstrel reference? Am I overreacting or naw?
Needless to say I was excited as the lights came up for the show to figure it all out. Not judgmental in any form or fashion, just curious if this professional company thought it through so I, as a viewer, got the intended interpretation. Guess what? I was right. They did their jobs. I could kick back my feet and feel like all is right in the world.
Buuuuuut. (Possible spoiler alert) I don't know if I like the comments the show was making about society, about America. Was it supposed to be funny? The servant black girl? The crazy black girl? The minstrel black guy? The jiving black guy? And a lot of jokes were being made. Jewish jokes, musical jokes, and more... Yet if I look at Broadway musicals. Your Hamilton's are few and far between. Your diverse, particularly black musicals are missing these days. They come along every once in a blue moon. Can we stop playing these roles ever? Or have they become a part of traditional theatre? Look mom, there's those black folks in they role again. Just like we like them. In their place.
Overall, I loved the musical. There's just something that makes me squirm in my seat about how black people are portrayed that everyone (even other minorities) accept as funny. It's not funny. I don't want to laugh at my history. I want to change the future.
On the other side, it was a extremely polished and well performed performance. Adam Pascal was in it as Shakespeare! If you don't know, he played Roger in Rent. My love for theatre is ever evolving. That's why I'm in dance classes now. "Cause I see you Broadway and I'm coming for you!"- Me.
Go see "Something Rotten" for yourself though. Share with me your thoughts on theatre, the portrayal of black people in theatre, or your observations.
Photo from Urbarts.org
I will have been in St. Louis four years this June *gasp* Oh.... How time flies when you spend two years stuck in a rut and the other two living your dreams. There was no short way to say that. However, VerbQuake has been one of those things that just kind of crept up on me.
What is VerbQuake?
It’s a teen performing arts program that is steadily growing each year. This year it has become a Missouri regional slam that has reached numerous high schools throughout the area. It's parent organization is UrbArts.
Why is this important?
You remember high school? You remember having something to say and adults seeming not to listen? You remember adolescence where that seemed to be the running theme? Well I was lucky enough to get involved in a group called ArtBEATS in Baltimore, MD to find my voice. Kids here in St. Louis or surrounding hadn’t really had that till VerbQuake. PLUS VerbQuake sends kids to Brave New Voices and Chicago Louder Than a Bomb . (Both are poetry slams if you’re confused)
So I’ve had multiple titles when it has come to VerbQuake. I started as a coach in 2014. It was random and I knew instantly this was a program I wanted to invest in. (hence the whole blog post dedication). Then in 2015-2016 I was a coach. Meaning I went in the schools and attempted to bestow wisdom and lead them to greatness. I lead them… Somewhere . Some of my team are now competitive on their own, but I’m not sure if it’s because I was their coach or if they’re just brilliant or both, probably their brilliance to be honest. I was still struggling as a teammate and competitive poet myself so… Anywho, this year has been the job for me. Judge coordinator/bout manager. I mean NOW I think I could coach better, but I like the brass tax of it all. Scheduling, contacting, sweating… It all reminds me of theatre. I love being in the background/forefront. Like you can see me, but you don’t have to focus on me. Like you can acknowledge, but I don’t need the glory like that.
My favorite part is hearing the students express themselves, hearing the concepts from young minds that are good enough to challenge some adults. I love seeing their gears churn and their honesty give way. They inspire me to be more honest in my work allll the time. They’re brilliant. (Have I said that?) Also having a conversation with them is like… *explosion sound* They just blow your mind. Hard part about my job is looking at the details only at times. Just moving numbers not emotions. I think that’s the hardest about slam poetry in general.
The finals are this weekend and I’m excited for the results. I’m also a bit nervous for them too.
The point being... Even if kids are afraid they swallow that fear and try something new. Seeing the bravery of these highschoolers reminds me to not be so fearful of trying new and daunting things. It reminds me we all need a place and space for our voices to be heard don't ever think that you have to quiet yourself.
Check out Urbarts.org for more info on VerbQuake
We all need a little direction in our lives and this blog does as well. So... I'm baaaack! And better than ever. Welcome to T^3 (T Cubed) which stands for Teach, Theatre, and Travel. Yep, *southern accent* that's the direction of this here blog.
*Normal voice* In this blog I'll be talking about my life and how it relates to the three T's. Teaching, theatre, and travel. That's it. Wherever I am and whatever I'm doing I'll always be involving one of these three T's if not all of them. So buckle up! You buckled?
This is a re-vamp! An overhaul.
Currently I have started a Fellowship at COCA which is a center of creative arts and I realized this blog needs passion and direction. I want to take ya'll somewhere. So this crazy artistic journey of mine is what I'm gonna include ya'll in on. Cool? Cooool... Until next time beautiful people.
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Fitness. Life. Art. Travel.