A) Minneapolis' beloved Southern Theater is in danger of going under.
B) The Guthrie Theater announced its next season today. Of the fourteen plays that the Guthrie will produce in 2011-2012, every single piece was written by a male playwright. There remain several TBA directors, but as of the announcement today, only one director is a woman--Marcela Lorca, Head of Movement at the Guthrie, whose tenure predates that of the current Artistic Director Joe Dowling.
"The Guthrie is fulfilling its promise to our community," said Dowling, "deepening the variety of offerings, developing richer relationships with local artists, introducing the work of artists from around the globe, and fostering the theater's next generation."
Let's take a look:
On the Guthrie's largest stage, the Wurtele Thrust:
Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare, directed by Joe Dowling
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams, director TBA
Hay Fever by Noel Coward, directed by Christopher Luscombe
A Christmas Carol, adapted by Crispin Whittell, directed by Joe Dowling
The Amen Corner by James Baldwin, directed by Lou Bellamy (Penumbra Theatre Production)
The Sunshine Boys by Neil Simon, directed by Gary Gisselman
On the McGuire Proscenium:
Burial at Thebes by Seamus Heaney, directed by Marcela Lorca
Charley's Aunt by Brendan Thomas, directed by John Miller-Stephany
Time Stands Still by Donald Marguiles, directed by Joe Dowling
End of the Rainbow by Peter Quilter, directed by Terry Johnson (remount from London)
Roman Holiday by Paul Blake with songs by Noel Coward, directed by John Miller-Stephany (adaption of the film)
In the Dowling Studio:
The Edge of Our Bodies by Adam Rapp, directed by Ben McGovern
Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare, directed by Rob Melrose (The Acting Company production)
The Birds by Conor McPherson, directed by Henry Wishcamper
The BFA New Plays, writers and directors TBA
A Guthrie Experience, writer/director TBA
The variety of offerings? The Guthrie will produce one play written by a non-white artist this season, and that's The Amen Corner by James Baldwin--in a production by Penumbra Theatre Company. While I think it's great that for the first time the Guthrie is making Penumbra's work part of their subscriber season (as opposed to the Guthrie-hosted Penumbra productions of the last several years), I can't help but feel that Joe Dowling is patting himself on the back for farming out the job of diversity and multicultural representation on the Guthrie's stages. OK, so the Guthrie is never going to do a better Amen Corner than Penumbra (at least with its current roster of artistic staff), but does that mean that it shouldn't even try to produce work that isn't written by white men, as every single one of their upcoming plays for the next season is? I'm not claiming that you can't have 'variety' without ethnic diversity, but it sure does help. Eleven plays by white dudes, directed by white dudes? As a friend commented on facebook: "Well, at least they're consistent."