onceived, edited and directed by olivia oguma
music by cody owen stine
monologue by thornton wilder
• marc delacruz • annie henk • kaliswa brewster •ann harada • james seol • brynn williams • mirirai sithole • mia katigbak • kaaron briscoe • don nguyen • olivia oguma • anthony lee medina • jo mei • austin ku • bruce locke • jason c. brown • ashley bryant • thom sesma • sade namei • wi-moto nyoka • rodney to • christopher oscar peña • tina chilip • emma ramos • michael genet • nandita shenoy • brooke ishibashi • kate rigg • andres munar • james yaegashi •
#Repost and video credit @olioguma
A week ago, I found myself reading about a revival of a very well-known play announced for a post-Covid 2021 Broadway season. I came to realize, that a lot of my hurt and frustration regarding the revival, the casting, and the optics of the theater institution has to do with simply not seeing myself represented on stage. Specifically, in the context of classic plays that explore what it truly means to be an American.
I started complaining on Facebook (as per usual–my go-to-way to express my anger and frustration during this quarantine), I wondered- do the people in charge really see us?
And then, I had a realization: THIS is the time where I need to take all that anger and frustration and use it to create something meaningful.
I wanted to create something that celebrates our connection to one another. I wanted to create something that said, people of color deserve to be a part of this conversation… we deserve to be sitting at this table. I wanted to create something that simply said: We see you, do you see us?
So, with one week, limited funds, and the contacts in my iPhone, I made this.
It is not perfect. But, it is real. And it reflects the world I see every day.
If I can sit in my studio apartment during a pandemic–with limited time and resources–and put together a piece of art showcasing the talents of all these people of color who have a voice to share, imagine what someone in a position of power–with all the time and resources of a Broadway production– could do?
We are in agreement that there are new stories and playwrights that need to be explored, but– If we must revisit American classics, can they not be done in a way that is reflective of all Americans today?
So, why not reshape it? Redefine it. Restructure it.
We see you. See us.
We are the town.
With that being said, please enjoy my short film project:
their town. OUR town.
STAGE MANAGER (MALE OR FEMALE)- Yes, an awful lot of sorrow has sort of quieted down up here. People just wild with grief have brought their relatives up to this hill. We all know how it is…and then time… and sunny days… and rainy days…’n snow…We’re all glad they’re in a beautiful place and we’re coming up here ourselves when our fit’s over. Now there are some things we all know, but we don’t take’m out and look at ’em very often. We all know that something is eternal. And it ain’t houses and it ain’t names and it ain’t earth, and it aint’ even the stars…everybody knows in their bones that something is eternal, and that something has to do with human beings. All the greatest people ever lived have been telling us that for five thousand years and yet you’d be surprised how people are always losing hold of it. There’s something way down deep that’s eternal about every human being. (pause) You know as well as I do that the dead don’t stay interested in us living people for very long. Gradually, gradually, they lose hold of the earth… and the ambitions they had … and the pleasures they had …and the things they suffered… and the people they loved. They get weaned away from earth—that’s the way I put it, –weaned away. And they stay here while the earth part of ‘em burns away, burns out: and all that time they slowly get indifferent to what’s goin’ on in Grover’s Corners. They’re waitin’. They’re waitin’ for something that they feel is comin’. Something important and great. Aren’t they waitin’ for the eternal part in them to come out clear? Some of the things they’re going to say maybe’ll hurt your feelings–that’s the way it is; mother’n daughter…husband ‘n wife…enemy ‘n enemy…money ‘n ‘miser…all those terribly important things kid of grow pale around here.