Monday, January 19, 2009

The Shipment

This was one of the January shows for Claudia LaRocca's Performance Club. It was something I never would have wound up going to on my own. I would have (possibly) read the review in the times, thought oh, that sounds interesting, and then gone back to reorganizing my kitchen cabinets or whatever and never gotten around to actually getting a ticket. I have motivation issues. But knowing that I'll have the opportunity to talk about what I've just seen with other people is exciting and makes attending things so much more fun. 

Last month I was a bit nervous because so many of the people are involved with performance as as more than just a sometime audience member and so very much more knowledgeable than me. But everyone's been so nice and easy to talk with that it was soon clear my worries were misplaced. Instead, I feel like I'm expanding my performance-viewing horizons while learning from other people and having a really good time. So it's basically a win-win-win situation. And on top of that, I've genuinely enjoyed both things I've gone to so far, which certainly isn't necessary, but it a plus.

But about The Shipment. I've been trying to think about what exactly I have to say about it. Or rather, how I can organize my thoughts about it well enough to write about it in a cohesive, worthwhile way. As much as I enjoyed it, I'm still turning it over in my head (a good thing, no?). The cast was wonderful and the show itself definitely made me think about my own preconceived notions of race but also about my own discomfort with talking about race in anything other than a politically correct way. I didn't think everything worked equally well, and I'm not sure how to interpret some things, but other things really intrigued me, particularly in the way Lee raised questions about how our expectations and preconceptions influence media representations of African Americans and vice versa?

The Performance Club post for discussion of The Shipment is here..


claudia said...

Hiya M. ... just a quick note to say how happy I am to have you in the club, and glad that folks have been welcoming. It's funny, and sad, that there is such a divide: people (even smart, sophisticated people like yourself) who aren't involved in the arts tend to feel intimidated, and people who are involved, certainly in performance, are often so incredibly frustrated by the feeling that they're in a bubble. They're so hungry for conversation.

You mention "my own discomfort with talking about race in anything other than a politically correct way" - so well put. I think you can really sense that discomfort in a lot of the responses on my blog, no? Including my own. I was really glad to have Eric's smart, dissenting opinion ( And I would be interested to hear what you thought didn't work as well within the play.

See you for one or more of the February events, I hope??


Meg said...

Hi, Claudia. I'll be at at least one of the February events (the 26th or the 27th), I just have to figure out my schedule that week.

I'll head over to your Performance Club entry to answer your question about what I thought worked less well. (And thanks for pointing out Eric's comment--I wasn't scrolling down far enough to see that there were new comments.)