NNPN's Australian-American Smackdown was informative and enlightening. I was excited to take part in this discussion and honored to engage with such outstanding artists. New Dramatists Artistic Director Todd London and Georgetown University Professor (and playwright) Christine Evans moderated our conversation. The Australian playwrights included Vanessa Bates and Declan Greene. American playwrights included Carson Kreitzer, Carlos Murillo and myself.
Our conversation was rich, personal and diverse. We were asked to speak about our work from an Australian or an American perspective. We discussed the astonishing and often stifling global impact of the United States. We marveled at Australia's gender parity in contrast to our inability to get anywhere near it. We recognized that our countries are both young and were founded on indigenous lands, colonized by immigrants and built by slave and prison labor. We called attention to guiding principles of our countries: "Freedom" for Americans and "Fair Trade" for Australians Two very distinctive and grand notions that mean different things to different people and don't always trickle down evenly to each citizen.
As playwrights, we each address issues of race, class, gender and sexual orientation in our work. However, our approach to these universal issues vary beautifully and uniquely in style and form. Each of us has an essential and distinctive artistic vision in response to our personal, political, geographical and historical experience. And even this brief, but powerful shared international experience will no doubt impact how we continue to shape our stories.
It was a fantastic conversation. You can listen to it in its entirety here on #NewPlay TV. Also, the folks at NNPN shared these statistics in the program and I wanted to share them with you as well:
I'm a playwright, dramaturg, and teaching artist. It is here where you'll find my queries and musings on life, theater and the world. My posts advocate for diversity, inclusion, and equity in the American Theatre and updates on my own work. Please enjoy!