Change Don’t Come Easy: Theater For Social Change
The Thespian Thoughts blog posts are meant to be a college student’s point of view on various topics in the world of theater to educate all on what encompasses this particular area of the arts.
Over the past year, so much great social justice work been done across the United States and elsewhere. Movements for change have had incredible support like never before and it is uplifting to see so many people come together for the common good. While speeches and protest marches grace our televisions, the theatrical stage has always been and continues to be a platform for fighting social injustice.
Musical theater in particular has taken on very serious social and political topics and woven them into their anecdotic revues. Many concern issues of the time in which they were written but still ring true today. For example, Hair debuted in 1967 as a product of hippie counterculture. Songs from the show became anthems of the anti-Vietnam War peace movement. Hairspray is based off the John Waters film about racism in 1960’s Baltimore and opposition to television integration as well as addressing sizeism. Rent debuting in 1998 addressed the aids crisis that was still painfully lingering, and most recently the currently running musical Kinky Boots is a celebratory call for equality of the LGBTQA+ community.
As for plays, a production that I was fortunate enough to get to see was Anna Deavere Smith’s one woman show Notes From the Field: Doing Time in Education where through reenacting 18 verbatim interviews, she dissects the school to prison pipeline in America and how our current system is unequipped to end it. During intermission, audience members participated in small discussions groups forcing them to look into themselves and their own experiences and question why this problem exists and what can we as individuals do to help fix it.
As movements for social change rise throughout history, theater will be there to give voice to those issues. I am proud to take part in an artistic medium that can entertain as well as speak truth to power.
Reminder- Our deadline for our dramatic works contest is this Sunday at midnight! This is your last chance to get a submission in! See our Facebook page and website for details!