Featured Contributors, Feb. 2017

One wrote about unacknowledged class divisions among theatre workers; the other about a new play written in response to the Ferguson moment.

Leah Nanako Winkler. (Photo by Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Playwright Leah Nanako Winkler, who writes about making it in NYC without financial backing, says she’s heartened by what she learned from the artists she interviewed. “From my experience, inherited wealth and class division is an extremely taboo, if not ignored subject in the theatre community,” she says, “and it’s nice to see that times are changing and these issues are being at least talked about. I could never figure out why poverty is so romanticized by artists who have trust funds, or at the very least the cushion of kind parents (which is a good thing!), but this realization has brought me closer to artists who don’t necessarily have these things.”

Rosalind Early.

St. Louis-based journalist Rosalind Early, who writes this issue’s Production Notebook on Until the Flood at the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, about the aftermath of Michael Brown’s death in nearby Ferguson, Mo., notes that she did most of her reporting before November’s presidential election, but wrote the piece after it. At that point, her perspective on the play changed. “I wondered how I could be a stranger in my own country,” she says. “I now think the act of listening to different viewpoints is essential in order to consider yourself at all informed. That Dael Orlandersmith created a play with listening as its central aim was so necessary in today’s divided America.”

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