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Why We Theater

Why We Theater

Author: Broadway Podcast Network

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Social justice meets theatre in this podcast from Playbill’s former Executive Editor Ruthie Fierberg. Artists and experts unite for curated panels, using plays and musicals (Broadway, Off-Broadway, and works in development) as a jumping-off point to confront societal issues such as racism, colorism, voting rights, fake news, digital technology addiction, the school-to-prison pipeline, anti-Semitism, raising LGBTQIA+ kids, and more. We help listeners grapple with hard questions inside a play or musical in order to create change in our offstage lives. And don’t worry if you haven’t seen an individual episode’s show or if you’re not a theatre buff. Award-winning writers and directors of pieces like SCHOOL GIRLS; OR, THE AFRICAN MEAN GIRLS PLAY and THE PROM break down the message inside their stories and how they created that story. Then, real-world experts in the corresponding field (like NSA Jake Sullivan or THIS AMERICAN LIFE’s Ira Glass) offer advice and action steps (thought patterns to monitor, petitions to sign, organizations to support, etc.) so we can manifest progress. “Theater” is not only a place or a presentation, it is an action. “To theater” is to engage with art presented onstage. Why we theater? We’re about to find out.

11 Episodes
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What is the current state of theatre? Right now, the theatre industry and the pipeline to it (a.k.a. arts education) needs change. What can you do to save Broadway and hundreds of theatres around the country right now? What can you do to ensure artists can afford stay artists? Why is it necessary for every person to take classes in the arts? (Yes, there is research that says this is vital for everyone.) Where can you study the arts right now? It’s all here in this wrap-up of Season 1. Referred to in this episode 6 Facts That Show the True Importance of the Arts 22 Online Resources to Learn Performing Arts at Home Proposed Legislation to Support Those Struggling Due to COVID-19 Learn a new skill: Sight-reading music Circus arts Dialect   Why We Theater is a product of part of the Broadway Podcast Network, edited by Derek Gunther, and produced by Alan Seales. Follow us @whywetheater on Instagram & Twitter. Our theme music is by Benjamin Velez. Hear more at BenjaminVelez.com. Our logo is by Christina Minopoli. See more at MinopoliDesign.com. Special thanks to Genesis Johnson, Dori Berinstein, Leigh Silverman, Patrick Taylor, Tony Montenieri, Elena Mayer, Wesley Birdsall, and Suzanne Chipkin. Connect with Ruthie! Sign up for her newsletter at RuthieFierberg.com/contact Instagram: @ruthiefierceberg Twitter: @RuthiesATrain Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Broadway’s THE PROM takes center stage in this raw discussion about LGBTQIA+ teens and the discrimination they often face. After opening on Broadway in the fall of 2018, the musical comedy earned five Tony nominations, including Best Musical, and will debut on Netflix in a musical movie adaptation December 11, 2020. Inspired by true stories, THE PROM spotlights Emma, an Indiana teenager banned from her prom for wanting to take her girlfriend. When aging Broadway stars Dee Dee Allen and Barry Glickman find out (and their show closes due to bad reviews), they decide to rehab their images by becoming celebrity activists and taking up the cause of this “LGBQ-teen.” THE PROM illuminates the issue about acceptance and identity of LGTBQ+ folx, especially youth. Whether you are queer, the parent of a queer child, or a queer ally, this conversation will offer guidance about self-love, the importance of affirming LGBTQIA+ folx, and how we do that.  Tony nominees co-book writer Bob Martin and co-book writer and lyricist Chad Beguelin to talk about the ins and outs of writing THE PROM for Broadway and adapting it for the screen. Plus, policy leader and advocate Jennifer Driver and mental health counselor Isaac Archuleta guide us on healthy and safe practices and policies to aid self-discovery in LGBTQ+ youth; what we can all do to make kids feel safe and loved, to help parents of LGBTQ+ youth respond more healthfully to their kids, and schools and communities embrace kids of all orientations and identities; and policies we need to support to create lasting change for our youth and queer communities of all ages. Listen to the cast album here! Watch the Netflix movie here! Referred to in this episode: Prom discrimination stories from all 50 states Prom discrimination in Buffalo, NY; French Settlement, LA; Sullivan, IN The 2011 study Isaac mentions about sexual differentiation in development That WEST WING scene about biblical hypocrisy Amaze, video series to teach sex education at all ages The Trevor Project educational resources SIECUS Community Action Toolkit: A Guide to Advancing Sex Education in Your Community CDC facts about mental health, education, and violence for LGBT Youth Facts about suicide in LGBTQIA+ youth Create the Change: If you or someone you know is at risk of harming themselves, call The Trevor Project hotline 1-866-488-7386 How to recognize risk factors of self-harm or suicide; read the simple guide on how to talk about suicide and prevent it If you or someone you know is struggling with their sexual orientation and/or gender identity, watch this Lifeguard Workshop from The Trevor Project Understand what it means to come out Advocate for affirmative counseling Find a mental health professional specializing in LGBTQIA+ affirmative counseling Bookmark this guide on being an ally to transgender, non-binary youth   Why We Theater is a product of part of the Broadway Podcast Network, edited by Derek Gunther, and produced by Alan Seales. Follow us @whywetheater on Instagram & Twitter. Our theme music is by Benjamin Velez. Hear more at BenjaminVelez.com. Our logo is by Christina Minopoli. See more at MinopoliDesign.com. Special thanks to Genesis Johnson, Dori Berinstein, Leigh Silverman, Patrick Taylor, Tony Montenieri, Elena Mayer, Wesley Birdsall, and Suzanne Chipkin.   Connect with Ruthie! RuthieFierberg.com Instagram: @ruthiefierceberg Twitter: @RuthiesATrain Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Steven Levenson (DEAR EVAN HANSEN Tony winner) talks about his Off-Broadway play IF I FORGET. Set in 2000, the play focuses on a Jewish family as three adult children (Holly, Michael, and Sharon) return to their parents’ house in Maryland for their father Lou’s 75th birthday. Michael is a Jewish Studies professor who recently wrote a book called “Forgetting the Holocaust” about how Judaism has become a religion haunted by death and ghosts – unified by fear and the phrase “never forget” rather than religious ideals or customs. With experts Rabbi Shuli Passow and scholar Judah Isseroff, we discuss American Jewish identity, the rise of anti-Semitism and how to combat it, Israel and Zionism, and trends of tribalism. If you’ve ever been curious about Judaism or Jewish identity, if you want to learn more about the Holocaust and its impact on Jews today, if you want to explore what all people can learn from the tribalism that caused the Holocaust, this episode is for you. You can watch IF I FORGET on BroadwayHD. Michael’s monologue, as performed by Tony Award nominee Jeremy Shamos, appears with the permission of Roundabout Theatre Company, which premiered IF I FORGET Off-Broadway in 2017, and Steven Levenson. Referred to in this episode “The Rise of Social Orthodoxy: A Personal Account” by Jay P. Lefkowitz “The Problem with ‘Social Orthodoxy’” by Joshua R. Fattal, a critical response to Lefkowitz “What is the Talmud? Definition and Comprehensive Guide”, Yehuda Shurpin Who is Theodore Herzl? Who is David Ben-Gurion? Who is Sheldon Adelson? Who is “Adolf Eichmann”? Who is Hannah Arendt Neveragain.com Anti-Defamation League: Fighting Hate for Good What is Jerusalem Syndrome”?   Create the change Learn more about Judaism — knowledge facilitates compassion with “Introduction to Judaism” OR “The Basics of Judaism” Name anti-Semitic incidents as such, report them, and speak out against them Use Ten Ways to Fight Hate: A Community Response Guide Learn about The New Israel Fund, which envisions a Jewish and democratic state Fight for justice guided by Jewish values with Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ) Be aware of your own bias — it’s evolutionarily built in us to be tribal and we need to self-examine our thoughts and introduce dissenting viewpoints If you are Jewish and looking for ways to become involved: Choose a small tradition and incorporate that into your home, like lighting candles on Friday night for Shabat or saying the “Shema” before bed each night Take inspiration from B’nai Jeshurun’s The Jewish Home Project In COVID, many synagogues have moved services online; explore to find a place that feels right to you   Why We Theater is a product of part of the Broadway Podcast Network, edited by Derek Gunther, and produced by Alan Seales. Follow us @whywetheater on Instagram & Twitter. Our theme music is by Benjamin Velez. Hear more at BenjaminVelez.com. Our logo is by Christina Minopoli. See more at MinopoliDesign.com. Special thanks to Genesis Johnson, Dori Berinstein, Leigh Silverman, Patrick Taylor, Tony Montenieri, Elena Mayer, Wesley Birdsall, and Suzanne Chipkin.   Connect with Ruthie! RuthieFierberg.com Instagram: @ruthiefierceberg Twitter: @RuthiesATrain Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Ming Peiffer and our four experts return for more of the unfettered, vulnerable conversation about what it means to be femme and sexual, inspired by the play USUAL GIRLS. The drama premiered in 2018 at Roundabout Underground for an extended, sold-out run. Catalyzed by the allegations against American Apparel’s Dov Charney, playwright Peiffer began to investigate the stories of women and the milestones in the sexual maturation of girls in America that can lead to a fraught and vulnerable relationship to one’s own sexuality. Peiffer put the patriarchy, rape culture, sexism, misogyny, and racism on trial in her professional debut work. How do we navigate the male gaze? Are women and femmes ready to claim their own pleasure? What are the sexual scripts we live by and who writes them? How do we teach and exercise consent? What does a healthy sex education curriculum look like? What is sex-positivity and sex-normativity? Peiffer, host Ruthie Fierberg, and experts Dr. Tracie Gilbert, a sex educator, writer, researcher, and consultant with over 25 years experience, specializing in work with Black communities; Professor Lisa Speidel, assistant professor and general faculty in the Gender and Sexuality department at the University of Virginia, and editor of The Edge of Sex; Professor Celine Parrenas Shimizu, Director of the School of Cinema, member of the graduate faculty of Sexuality Studies at San Francisco State University, filmmaker, and author; and Justine Ang Fonte, a disruptor in health education and Director of Health and Wellness at an NYC K-12 school, gather to discuss everything from pleasure to self-discovery, recovering from violence to self-defense and all the coming-of-age in between. Referred to in this episode Meet Ericka Hart Consent outside of sex The stats on sexual assault and rape CDC’s 16 critical topics in high school sex ed Music video: WAP Create the change Read Pleasure Activism by Adrienne Maree Brown Check out K-12 sex education resources from Advocates for Youth How to teach consent to kids at every age Practice enthusiastic collaborative consent Learn to set safe sexual boundaries Lesson Plan: How to teach accurate reproductive anatomy and physiology to kids Explore your own pleasure at stores geared towards female pleasure like Babeland or The Smitten Kitten Learn to know thyself from Audre Lorde Watch the documentary On The Record   Why We Theater is a product of part of the Broadway Podcast Network, edited by Derek Gunther, and produced by Alan Seales. Follow us @whywetheater on Instagram & Twitter. Our theme music is by Benjamin Velez. Hear more at BenjaminVelez.com. Our logo is by Christina Minopoli. See more at MinopoliDesign.com. Special thanks to Genesis Johnson, Dori Berinstein, Leigh Silverman, Patrick Taylor, Tony Montenieri, Elena Mayer, Wesley Birdsall, and Suzanne Chipkin. Connect with Ruthie! RuthieFierberg.com Instagram: @ruthiefierceberg Twitter: @RuthiesATrain Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
The first of a critical two-part discussion, this episode focuses on Ming Peiffer’s USUAL GIRLS. The play premiered in 2018 at Roundabout Underground for an extended, sold-out run. Catalyzed by the allegations against American Apparel’s Dov Charney, playwright Peiffer began to investigate the stories of women and the milestones in the sexual maturation of girls in America that can lead to a fraught and vulnerable relationship to one’s own sexuality. Peiffer put the patriarchy, rape culture, sexism, misogyny, and racism on trial in her professional debut work. What does healthy sexual development look like? How can femmes claim (or reclaim) their own sexuality? Is it possible to shed the culturally imposed shame and guilt and adopt an outlook of pleasure? What should effective sex education teach and when? What sexual stereotypes do we impose upon different communities, be it Black, Latinx, Asian, and how do we counter them? What are the consequences of teaching abstinence-only, medically inaccurate, or emotionally devoid sex ed? Peiffer, host Ruthie Fierberg, and experts Dr. Tracie Gilbert, a sex educator, writer, researcher, and consultant with over 25 years experience, specializing in work with Black communities; Professor Lisa Speidel, assistant professor and general faculty in the Gender and Sexuality department at the University of Virginia, and editor of The Edge of Sex; Professor Celine Parrenas Shimizu, Director of the School of Cinema, member of the graduate faculty of Sexuality Studies at San Francisco State University, filmmaker, and author; and Justine Ang Fonte, a disruptor in health education and Director of Health and Wellness at an NYC K-12 school, gather to discuss everything from pleasure to self-discovery, recovering from violence to self-defense and all the coming-of-age in between. Referred to in this episode Kinsey Institute What is a “comfort woman”? Who gets the most right-swipes on dating apps? Sexual stereotypes of Black communities and Asian communities Lesson Plan: How to teach accurate reproductive anatomy and physiology to kids Only 15 of 50 states required to be medically accurate; and other sex ed laws What is rape culture? As explained by Marshall University or Buzzfeed Children’s Book: SEX IS A FUNNY WORD Music video: WAP   Create the change Check out K-12 sex education resources from Advocates for Youth How to teach consent to kids at every age Explore your own pleasure at stores geared towards female pleasure like Babeland or The Smitten Kitten Watch Justine Fonte’s “Story” Read Emily Nagoski’s Come As You Are Read Celine Parrenas Shimizu’s The Hypersexuality of Race: Performing Asian American Women on Screen and Scene Read Shimizu’s The Feminist Porn Book: The Politics of Producing Pleasure Read Lisa Spiedel’s The Edge of Sex: Navigating aa Sexually Confusing Culture From the Margins   Why We Theater is a product of part of the Broadway Podcast Network, edited by Derek Gunther, and produced by Alan Seales. Follow us @whywetheater on Instagram & Twitter. Our theme music is by Benjamin Velez. Hear more at BenjaminVelez.com. Our logo is by Christina Minopoli. See more at MinopoliDesign.com. Special thanks to Genesis Johnson, Dori Berinstein, Leigh Silverman, Patrick Taylor, Tony Montenieri, Elena Mayer, Wesley Birdsall, and Suzanne Chipkin. Connect with Ruthie! RuthieFierberg.com Instagram: @ruthiefierceberg Twitter: @RuthiesATrain Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
David Henry Hwang, three-time Pulitzer Prize finalist and Tony-winning playwright, and director Leigh Silverman join former policy director for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, and U.S. policymaker and now NSA Jake Sullivan and journalist, media consultant, author, and “Asian Pop” columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle Jeff Yang to discuss the musical-within-a-play SOFT POWER. The show illuminates the merits and pitfalls of democracy, the American electoral system, the American campaign system, U.S.-China relations, cultural appropriation, racism and hate crimes in America, soft power itself, and more. This episode of WHY WE THEATER focuses on democracy, voting rights, and appreciating Asian-American perspectives and culture. Is democracy the best system of government? How do we improve our electoral system now? What must we keep in mind for the November 2020 Presidential Election and beyond? What is soft power and how do we wield it responsibly? Do Americans have a say in how we interact with foreign nations? How? Listen to find out. Referred to in this episode What Donald Trump and Dick Cheney Got Wrong About America by Jake Sullivan The Citizens United Supreme Court Case What Is Ranked Choice Voting? From FairVote.org What is the Single Transferable Vote? Why Was the Electoral College Created? by Dave Roos Jeff Yang’s podcast “They Call Us Bruce” (co-hosted by Phil Yu) What is the “model minority” myth? Building the Transcontinental Railroad: How 20,000 Some Chinese Immigrants Made it Happen by Lesley Kennedy The history of Asian American for Equality and the Asian American Movement of the 1960s   Create the change Research and support Automatic Voter Registration Check your voter registration status and deadlines for registration by zip code Research your what’s on your ballot and who your candidates are Contact your representative to support voter rights – SUPER easy with 5calls.org Watch “We’re Doing Elections Wrong” from Patriot Act With Hasan Minhaj Read Jeff Yang’s Op-Ed “Mr. President, you don’t speak for Asian Americans” Check out this interactive timeline to understand the history of the U.S. and China’s relations Read Cathy Park Hong’s poetry and writings on her experience as an Asian American: Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning Read Peter N. Kiang’s “Understanding Our Perceptions of Asian Americans” Stop hate against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Watch panels from the Rise: Asian Pacific America digital conference   Why We Theater is a product of part of the Broadway Podcast Network, edited by Derek Gunther, and produced by Alan Seales. Follow us @whywetheater on Instagram & Twitter. Our theme music is by Benjamin Velez. Hear more at BenjaminVelez.com. Our logo is by Christina Minopoli. See more at MinopoliDesign.com. Special thanks to Dori Berinstein, Leigh Silverman, Patrick Taylor, Tony Montenieri, Elena Mayer, Wesley Birdsall, and Suzanne Chipkin. Connect with Ruthie! RuthieFierberg.com Instagram: @ruthiefierceberg Twitter: @RuthiesATrain Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Tony nominee Dominique Morisseau (TV’s SHAMELESS, AIN’T TOO PROUD) discusses her groundbreaking play PIPELINE, named for the national crisis of the school-to-prison pipeline. The play follows, Omari, a Black high school student at a predominantly white prep school and his single mother, Nya, who teaches at the district public school. When Omari attacks his teacher in class, Nya’s fears for her son and his future push her to the edge and force audiences to question who is truly at fault. How and why did the school-to-prison pipeline begin? What problems does education inequity and inequality cause? How do we make education more equitable—across public and private institutions? How do we train teachers of all races to relate to students of all races? What is “culturally responsive education” and how can it improve our education crisis? How does this connect to Black Lives Matter, George Floyd, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, Breonna Taylor, and too many more? Listen to this fascinating and urgent discussion with playwright Morisseau and education experts Tyree Booker of Camelot Education and Matt Gonzales of NYU’s Metro Center. Purchase the play here. Referred to in this episode Watch PIPELINE now on BroadwayHD. (Option for free trial for new users.) Michael Brown’s murder in Ferguson, MO (Read up until “The Law” section, which sources speculative opinions) THE NEW JIM CROW by Michelle Alexander ACLU: “School-to-Prison Pipeline” Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity & the Transformation of Schools, where Gonzales works on education research and policy Camelot Education, where Booker serves as an Executive Director Morisseau’s op-ed “Why I Almost Slapped a Fellow Theatre Patron, and What That Says About Our Theatres” What is “Culturally Responsive Education”? NATIVE SON by Richard Wright – Buy it from your local Black-owned independent bookstore; find stores here or here. Hear poet Gwendolyn Brooks read her “We Real Cool” Key and Peele’s “If We Treated Teachers Like Pro Athletes” U.S. Department of Education School Discipline Snapshot 2017-2018 School Survey on Crime and Safey “Racial Disparity in School Discipline” Infographic   Create the change Stand up for Black lives Find one-page education reform resources at the EJ-ROC Policy Hub Read JUST MERCY by Bryan Stevenson; FIERCE CONVERSATIONS by Susan Scott; WHO MOVED MY CHEESE? By Spencer Johnson; THE MISEDUCATION OF THE NEGRO by Carter G. Woodson (Buy from a Black-owned independent bookstore; find stores here or here.) Follow @integratenyc @CEJNYC @TeensTakeCharge @AQE_NY @CACF Read i3’s (Integration and Innovation Initiative) plan to integrate NYC schools, take their cues to adapt the policies for your school district Learn what “defund the police” means Elect Board of Education reps who: Support universal early childhood education Advocate for culturally responsive-sustaining education Will divest from school policing Will decriminalize student behavior Will develop “sanctuary school” models to make school a space safe from police and ICE agents Provide a model for family engagement in education Opt for counseling and progressive discipline Reach out to and collaborate with the Anti-Racist Initiatve at NYU’s Metro Center   Why We Theater is a product of part of the Broadway Podcast Network, edited by Derek Gunther, and produced by Alan Seales. Follow us @whywetheater on Instagram & Twitter. Our theme music is by Benjamin Velez. Hear more at BenjaminVelez.com. Our logo is by Christina Minopoli. See more at MinopoliDesign.com. Special thanks to Dori Berinstein, Leigh Silverman, Patrick Taylor, Tony Montenieri, Elena Mayer, Wesley Birdsall, and Suzanne Chipkin. Connect with Ruthie! RuthieFierberg.com Instagram: @ruthiefierceberg Twitter: @RuthiesATrain Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Ira Glass, Tony nominee Leigh Silverman, and Barbara Brandon-Croft debate fake news and more, inspired by Broadway’s THE LIFESPAN OF A FACT. Based on the book of the same name, THE LIFESPAN OF A FACT opened cold on Broadway at Studio 54 October 18, 2018, and immediately illuminated issues of journalistic integrity, art versus media, and what the word “truth” actually means. Jim Fingal is an intern at a literary magazine assigned to factcheck an essay by John D’Agata—the kind of piece that, according to editor-in-chief Emily Penrose could be “meaningful” and “pushes the envelope.” Inspired by Jim, John, and their real-life negotiation, the story follows Jim as he investigates every checkable fact in John’s article (excuse me, “essay”) as John fights to preserve the art of the story and the essence of truth. But are truth and facts the same? What about news and storytelling? Should there be a difference? When should a writer’s perspective surface, if ever? What facts are negotiable, if any? How do you know? In this episode, host Ruthie Fierberg digs into the origins of the play with Leigh Silverman—yielding a surprise twist—before opening up the discussion about facts and their negotiability, or lack thereof, with renowned content creator Ira Glass of THIS AMERICAN LIFE who says facts are black-and-white and Barbara Brandon-Croft, a fact-checker and research director at Parents magazine, who says situations like those portrayed in Lifespan are all too familiar. In the end, these artists and experts advise us all on how to consume reliable media and how to hold journalists and their outlets to ethical standards. Purchase the play here. Referred to in this episode John D’Agata’s story “What Happens Here” that inspired the book THE LIFESPAN OF A FACT, which inspired the play The July 25, 2008, episode of This American Life “Switched at Birth” The January 6, 20120, episode of This American Life “Mr. Daisey and the Apple Factory” and its subsequent retraction, titled “Retraction” released March 16, 2012 Read Ira’s 2012 letter about the retraction here Study: Distinguishing Between Factual and Opinion Statements in the News (How well can Americans tell the difference?) Quiz: How well can you tell factual from opinion statements?   Create the change Take the quiz to see if you know the difference between fact and opinion statements Learn the difference between fact and opinion statements with this one-sheet Dive deeper with this lesson plan from The Guardian Support your local radio station or local television news station Find your local radio station in one click Watch Hasan Minhaj explain the importance of local news on PATRIOT ACT Check the masthead (akin to a staff directory) of your magazines. Look for a “Research Director” or “Head of Research” and/or “Fact-checkers” on the EDITORIAL staff (NOT the Marketing/Sales/Publishing staff). Stay aware. Always check your sources. (Wikipedia is not a reliable source—though it may lead you to one.) Examples of reliable sources: government agencies, studies from a journal of repute, doctors and lawyers in their area of specialty, Nielsen and Pew Research Center   Why We Theater is a product of part of the Broadway Podcast Network, edited by Derek Gunther, and produced by Alan Seales. Follow us @whywetheater on Instagram & Twitter. Our theme music is by Benjamin Velez. Hear more at BenjaminVelez.com. Our logo is by Christina Minopoli. See more at MinopoliDesign.com. Special thanks to Dori Berinstein, Leigh Silverman, Patrick Taylor, Tony Montenieri, Elena Mayer, Wesley Birdsall, and Suzanne Chipkin. Connect with Ruthie! RuthieFierberg.com Instagram: @ruthiefierceberg Twitter: @RuthiesATrain Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Before Netflix’s THE SOCIAL DILEMMA, the 2019 musical OCTET tackled the harsh reality and trajectory of digital technology addiction and social media. Written by Dave Malloy (THE GREAT COMET) and directed by Annie Tippe, the a cappella chamber musical debuted Off-Broadway at the Signature Theatre Center and earned eight Drama Desk Award nominations. Staged as a sort-of AA meeting for tech addicts, each song serves as a share about a different manifestation of tech addiction. Are we all addicted to tech? How dangerous is it? Or, is it not necessarily the tools, but how we use them that can lead us to breakthroughs or breakdowns? Host Ruthie Fierberg delves into the origins of the musical and its roots in research with Tippe before opening up the discussion to three experts. Dr. Mary Helen Immordino-Yang offers the facts about technology’s effects on our brains and socialization; Dr. Hilarie Cash, who treats internet addiction, advises how to recognize true addiction and gives tips to establish a healthy media diet; and software engineer Daphne Larose proposes a new path for responsible tech development and the beneficial uses of software, the Internet, and games. Listen to the live album of OCTET here. Referred to in this episode Listen to the OCTET live album What are QAnon and 4chan? Research from Dr. Mary Helen Immordino-Yang Create the Change Go grayscale Turn off push notifications Never watch the next recommended video; choose your own content Check out the Center for Humane Technology Unplug: Go tech-free one day per week, one weekend per month, one week per year For educators read: The Brain Basis for Integrated Social, Emotional, and Academic Development Hold tech companies accountable If you feel concerned that you may have a more severe problem with digital technology, seek additional help. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) is a free national helpline for recovery resources and referrals; 1-800-622-HELP Find a therapist who specializes in Internet Addiction with this tool Consider treatment at reSTART Why We Theater is a product of part of the Broadway Podcast Network, edited by Derek Gunther, and produced by Alan Seales. Follow us @whywetheater on Instagram & Twitter. Our theme music is by Benjamin Velez. Hear more at BenjaminVelez.com. Our logo is by Christina Minopoli. See more at MinopoliDesign.com. Special thanks to Dori Berinstein, Leigh Silverman, Patrick Taylor, Tony Montenieri, Elena Mayer, Wesley Birdsall, and Suzanne Chipkin. Connect with Ruthie! RuthieFierberg.com Instagram: @ruthiefierceberg Twitter: @RuthiesATrain Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
What is colorism, and how do we combat it? Who decides what is beautiful? Why are girls raised to compete with each other? Playwright Jocelyn Bioh and experts Afia Ofori-Mensa of Princeton University and Maryann Jacob Macias of National Crittenton join host Ruthie Fierberg to explore the questions raised about the roots of colorism and how to check your own bias, beauty standards and how to advocate for broader definitions of beauty, self-esteem and how to raise girls and women to know our own self-worth in this episode tied to Off-Broadway’s Lortel-winning and Drama Desk-nominated comedy SCHOOL GIRLS; OR, THE AFRICAN MEAN GIRLS PLAY. Purchase the play here. When SCHOOL GIRLS; OR, THE AFRICAN MEAN GIRLS PLAY first hit the stage at MCC Theater in 2017, we witnessed the birth of a new powerhouse voice in the theatre with playwright Jocelyn Bioh. Set in Ghana in 1986, SCHOOL GIRLS is “the African Mean Girls Play” for a reason. It’s got all the comedy and all of the hallway politics of Tina Fey’s MEAN GIRLS. As the five of girls of the in-crowd—led by beauty Paulina—prepare for the Miss Ghana pageant recruiter to scout at their boarding school, things get ugly. The arrival of bi-racial transfer student Ericka (a light-skinned girl who grew up in the States but whose father is Ghanaian) throws a wrench in Paulina’s plans. The recruiter, Eloise, must think about who (and what type of beauty) could elevate Ghana to the worldwide stage in the Miss Universe pageant. Listen for some real talk and actionable steps to create a world with more acceptance and support—because that’s WHY WE THEATER. Referred to in this episode: TikTok ‘tried to filter out videos from ugly, poor or disabled users’ Peggy Orenstein, watch her TED Talk tied to her book Girls & Sex The work of Dr. Susan Bordo Create the Change: Write letters to the publisher. Send letters, emails, tweets (as someone who worked for a magazine, yes we really do read it all) either to praise the diversity of people you see in their pages—editorial and advertising—or to point out the lack thereof and demand a change. Letters to the editor will also work. Put your money where your mouth is. Buy make-up from brands with a wide spectrum of shades—even if your shade is lighter. Buy from brands that support your ideals—and let your friends know who these businesses are so they can join you. Broaden the idea of the protagonist Read, borrow, and purchase books with protagonists of color. Expand your horizons while showing that the readership for these stories is wide. As this writer observes: Black Books Are for White Children, Too. Here are some lists to get you started: 10 Books With South Asian Characters You Should Read in 2020; Multicultural Book Recommendation for World Travel From the Safety of Home. Lift up women in front of other women. Compliment girls for things they’ve done, not how they look.   Why We Theater is part of the Broadway Podcast Network, edited by Derek Gunter, and produced by Alan Seales. Follow us @whywetheater on Instagram & Twitter. Our theme music is by Benjamin Velez. Hear more at BenjaminVelez.com. Our logo is by Christina Minopoli. See more at MinopoliDesign.com. Special thanks to Dori Berinstein, Leigh Silverman, Patrick Taylor, Tony Montinieri, Elena Mayer, Wesley Birdsall, and Suzanne Chipkin. Connect with Ruthie! RuthieFierberg.com Instagram: @ruthiefierceberg Twitter: @RuthiesATrain Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Ayad Akhtar’s Pulitzer Prize–winning drama Disgraced changed Ruthie Fierberg’s life. In fact, it’s the whole reason this podcast exists. The play fused theatre and social justice for her. Theatre is not just a mirror to society, it’s a catalyst to change it. Listen to this 2-minute origin story. Part of the Broadway Podcast Network. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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