The following is a transcript of the speech given by Editor-In-Chief and Cultural Designer Regina Victor at the American Stage Lift Every Voice New Play Festival on March 3rd, 2023 at the James Museum in St. Petersburg, FL. Published exclusively on Rescripted.
Hello everyone, what a marvelous gathering!
As Patrick said, my name is Regina Victor, my pronouns are they/them pharaoh, and I’m so grateful to be here at the Lift Every Voice New Play Festival. Thank you to the James Museum, and the team at American Stage for hosting us here together, to celebrate six new opportunities to play.
I want to start with a moment of collective memory. I want us to think back to the first moment we ever saw a play, when we knew we wanted to be creators and producers for the stage. Think back to that time, and think about, possibly even cherish, the amount you have accomplished since that moment. The stories you’ve shepherded, the lives you’ve changed, the joy you’ve discovered. Continue reading “The Importance of Play – A Keynote Speech by Regina Victor”
When audience members enter What To Send Up When It Goes Down by Aleshea Harris, produced by Congo Square Theatre, we shuffle quietly into the lofted warehouse-style space. As we find our seats on either side of Lookingglass’ playing space, it feels a bit like the beginning of a wake, and in a way it is. A few cast members mill about the space, and one (Joey Stone at our performance) hands out black ribbons to wear in solidarity with Black people that have been victims to, or killed by police violence.
At this performance, Chanel Bell announces we will be performing this ritual for Botham Jean. The performers invite the audience into a circle to begin the ritual to commemorate one of those felled by racist violence. A participant may choose not to take part in the ritual, but they just ask that you center Black voices in the space, and don’t disturb those who do choose to participate. Continue reading “Ritual as Reclamation in ‘What To Send Up When It Goes Down’”
Sideshow Theatre Company just announced its 2021 Season, featuring an all-virtual line-up of entertainment. This announcement comes only weeks after the announcement of their new company members. The season kicks-off this month with a one-night-only benefit screening of Sideshow’s 2018 hit You For Me For You, written by Mia Chung and directed by Ensemble Member Elly Green. This summer, Sideshow presents a reading of Preston’s Choi’s new play Drive-In at the End of the World, directed by Associate Artistic Director Justin J. Sacramone and created through “The Freshness Initiative,” Sideshow’s new play development program. Throughout the year audiences can also enjoy the Sideshow House Party Series, five virtual readings by some of the company’s favorite playwrights – each followed by an interactive celebration.
Sideshow Artistic Director Regina Victor states: “The Sideshow Ensemble is excited to have cultivated a season full of curiosity and delight to gather the community in these tough times. Looking at the plays we’ve chosen to present, each one in their own way asks the question: Who am I, and who decides that, really? Power dynamics play out across race, class and gender in unconventional ways across our season, and there’s even quite a bit of magic sprinkled in. I’m so grateful, in this moment of leadership transition and COVID-19, to be able to continue to build upon Sideshow’s legacy of presenting and developing some of Chicago’s most memorable and exciting plays. I really have the ensemble’s artistic determination, and the dedication of my Executive Director and board to thank for that.” Continue reading “Sideshow Theatre Company Announces 2021 New Play Digital Season, Including a House Party Series of Fresh Plays”
Sideshow Theatre Company is welcoming eleven new company members, six ensemble members and five artistic associates, respectively.
Ensemble members include Wardell Julius Clark, Greg Geffrard, Arti Ishak, Krystal Ortiz, Gabrielle Randle-Bent and Netta Walker. Artistic Associates include Patrick Agada, J. Nicole Brooks, Brynne Frauenhoffer, Jyreika Guest and Sarah Price.
These new additions to the company are predominantly BIPOC artists. This influx of representation marks a fresh and necessary wave of diversification in theatre. Continue reading “Sideshow Theatre Company Explodes with BIPOC Representation”
Your Life Does Not Have To Be A Crisis
I find it exceptionally hard to look backwards at this time of year, I enjoy designing what could be, much more than living in what was. This is why sharing my visions for the future with you all is a yearly privilege that brings me so much joy. Dreaming, visualizing, creating opportunity for change like this has only in recent years been met with this kind of love, attention, and intention. It gives me great hope for our future.
Speaking with this kind of optimism, being struck with this kind of inspiration, after our year of crisis feels strange. Hope is a word that doesn’t sit in our mouths the way that it used to, it no longer slides off the tongue as easily as it did more than a decade ago. Living in crisis and neglecting hope is a critical error on our part. To lose hope is to lose opportunity. Opportunity to co-create something different. Even if that something different is just experiencing what you are doing — differently. Continue reading “Letter from the Editor: Visions for 2021”
The Revolution Starts With You.
One person can change everything. We know this. We are powerful, connected and talented beings.
What does your revolution look like? Marching? Phone banking? Demonstrating? Facebooking?
I want to know if you have asked yourself, really asked what the revolution means for you. Not for the “movement,” and not for the stolen lives America has taken through the centuries up to this point. Your revolution may look like marches, demonstrations, Facebook rants, phone banks. Your revolution may not look like intentionally considering what you want this world to be when we are done.
What is your revolution?
Your own, personal liberation?
Continue reading “Love Yourself Like My Life Depends On It”
Last year I had the privilege of attending TCG and writing almost 3000 words that ruminated on the topic: What is a Theatre Review(er) Good for?
I didn’t re-read it, because I’m busy, doing whatever the fuck I can to help Black people stay alive. I’m neurotic, immuno-compromised, and generally traumatized but my Black ass is out here keeping supply lines tight and sending bodies where they need to be. The far more urgent question I have for you today is: What have you done to help Black people stay alive today? Continue reading “What Have You Done to Help Black People Stay Alive Today? or, Why I’m Not at TCG”
We are at the precipice. Everything in our society could change tomorrow, simply because it cannot sustain its way of being any longer. How are we envisioning that future, in the arts and beyond? Here at Rescripted we are envisioning an empathetic future, driven by advocacy and dialogue, rather than this present cycle of trauma and fear. My vision for Rescripted was simple: train and uplift voices that will make the industry a hospitable place for everyone to work. The impact of that vision, that intention, has been unbelievable. We have now trained critics in the double digits who are writing professionally, we are creating transparency and accountability in our work that established publications are beginning to echo. We highlighted communities and theatres that were habitually overlooked, causing other publications to pick up their stories as well. Ever so slightly, I see the viewpoints and the values of other critical institutions changing in response to the energy this group of artists has brought to the city through our writing. Therefore, I want to end 2019 by offering visions for our artistic future. Continue reading “Letter From the Editor: Artistic Visions for 2020”
Sugar in our Wounds by Donja R. Love at First Floor Theater is nestled in the upstairs of the Den Theatre, a space designed by Joy Ahn to hold its audience tightly through the events of the play. Seemingly endless branches that source from an ancient tree glow from within, arching over the space as if to say come closer, I have a story in my roots. If you listen closely, Sam Clapp’s sound design will have you thinking you hear the ancestors murmuring to you as the wind whistles through the branches. Continue reading “‘Sugar in our Wounds,’ an Ode to Black Love in a Time of Great Pain”
Rescripted is thrilled to announce the third session of The Key: Young Critics Mentorship Program, September 25 – December 4 and hosted for the second year at Steppenwolf Theater, 1650 N. Halsted. Regina Victor, founder of the online arts journalism platform Rescripted, and entertainment critic Oliver Sava created the 10-week training program for Chicago youth in arts criticism. In league with The Chicago Inclusion Project, The Key has successfully held two sessions, educating young writers on the skills and industry knowledge needed to pursue careers in arts criticism. Alumni of The Key have written for outlets like Chicago Reader, Howlround, The Windy City Times, and Rescripted.
Continue reading “Rescripted Announces Third Session of The Key: Young Critics Mentorship Program”