From the Forum

Posted on September 24, 2011

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Free For(u)m audience members

We started the Free For(u)ms, Mixed Blood’s post-show audience conversation series, after Wednesday’s restart performance of Neighbors (As you may know, last weekend’s performances were canceled due to a medical emergency suffered by one of our actors Warren Bowles. All updates on his condition can be found here). The level of conversation has been really great and the audience members really seem to benefit from the chance to talk to the show with their fellow onlookers.

I’ve been really amazed at how candid and open everyone has been. My initial reservations (people wouldn’t speak up, the conversations would be too argumentative, more verbose patrons would dominate the conversation, etc.) have been eased and I really look forward to this weekend’s conversations. As always, you can keep up with what’s being said by searching #NeighborsMBT but I did want to highlight a few of the responses that caught my attention:

“It’s unfortunate but it’s not only the black community that deals with these issues!”

“the house that race built is America”

(re: to the backdrop)”all those houses back there played the silent majority and that can be very dangerous.”

“we are the show”

“What do the actors feel [at the end of the play],in that moment, when they turn the audience on it’s head?”

“at times it felt like u knew u were watching theatre, other times it like a convo you’d have in the privacy of your kitchen table”

“Sometimes we miss the consequences racism and stereotypes have on people that work hard to escape them.”

In addition to the Free For(u)ms we held our first of three salons on issues the play brings up. This past Sunday’s salon, Miscegenation and Racial Admixture in the United States, was led by Professor Yuichiro Onishi and Harry Waters Jr. Along with our audience, they shared their personal experiences and interpretations of miscegeny and how the history of anti-miscegenation laws have affected the America we live in today.

I hope our Forums and Salons will continue to elicit  great conversation. It really is a true testament to the curiosity and intellect of our audience that we have such informed dialogue after the show. Our hashtag is beginning to fill up with insightful comments from the forums and our post-it wall is beginning to look good with our audience members sharing their thoughts!

Just as a reminder, this Sunday (October 2, 2011) we will host our second Free For(u)m: Salon. Our topic, Minstrelsy and the History of Black Representation in the American Theatre, will be lead by an esteemed panel of local professors including Mr. Mahmoud El-Kati. I hope to see you at the nightly Free For(u)ms and at Sunday’s salon. Stay inquisitive, stay conversant and stay connected with us!

-Jamil Jude, NNPN Producer in Residence

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