From the Editor

Observations, Letters and Moments

Back in Business
By Paul Kassel, Managing Editor

Paul KasselIt's been a while.

After leaving SUNY New Paltz it has taken me the better part of a year to get back to TPJ. Now ensconced as Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Northern Illinois University, I have been working behind the scenes to keep TPJ alive and kicking. Dr. Heather Corwin has taken on the task as editor and she has assembled a team to help her solicit and review articles. 

There have been a couple of interesting things that have happened of late of interest to actors and teachers of acting (and I don't mean the national election last November). The several that stand out for me are

  1. The decision by the Albee estate to not allow a person of color to play the role of "Nick" in a production of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf
  2. The discussion surrounding a review by a critic in Chicago
  3. The controversy surrounding the staging of Julius Caesar at the Public Theatre
  4. The letter to Lincoln Center from a group of theater artists calling for the cancellation of a play funded by Brand Israel

Freedom of expression is being contested in each of these instances. The artistic community must be part of the political conversation—I'm all for it. Actors are at the forefront of this because we embody the controversy. 

  • We are the actor denied a role
  • We are the actors belittled by a critic
  • We are the performers being confronted by those who disagree with artistic choices
  • We are among the ones who will be out of work if a play is cancelled

So we must stand together. Not in agreement necessarily, but in solidarity for the right of all artists to express themselves freely--free from the fear of retaliation.

Artaud called for actors burning at the stakes, laughing at the flames. I hope it doesn't come to that.