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Letters to the Editor: May 28, 2014

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OKC needs more exposure for minority actors, roles and productions

In response to Mark Beutler’s March 19 “Minority Report,” (Life, Performing Arts, Oklahoma Gazette), wherein City Rep, Pollard and Jewel Box Theatre companies express difficulty in recruiting non-white performers.

Yes, our city craves diverse representations in theater. A few groups are doing this, and doing it well.

In 2013, I had the great pleasure of attending two incredible performances featuring majority black casts: local playwright La’Charles Purvey’s Beyond the Stratosphere directed by Ty Donato, produced by Black Don’t Crack and OCCC’s production of August Wilson’s Fences, directed by Albert Bostick, Jr.

Director Doobie Porter did a fine job of casting mostly people of color in Carpenter

Square Theater’s production of Kenneth Lonergan’s Lobby Hero.

I would like to see all companies follow Doobie’s example and place actors of color in any and all roles, not just raced roles. This gives local talent the idea that your company enjoys diversity. I’m sure it also helps to work with people of color as directors, playwrights, dramaturgs, administrators, volunteers and crew.

More than a local lack of diversity or talent, the hindrances to recruiting performers may be poor communication with the larger theater web. Why not ask CST, OCCC and Black Don’t Crack Productions what they are doing differently?

Would City Rep, Pollard, Jewel Box or Reduxion theaters consider developing theater workshops and training for working adults?

I want to see a surge of productions written by, for and about Hispanic people, ideally presented in Spanish and English. Does a bilingual, or bicultural, community theater initiative exist? Oklahoma City is made of creative, dramatic, musical dreamers and social consciousness, but do we have theatrical experience? Let’s continue building the necessary networks and alliances.

— Kynza Plays

Oklahoma City

This Christian doesn’t believe in Robin Meyers

Robin Meyers’ op-ed “Oklahoma’s Mean Jesus” (Commentary, May 7, Gazette) does not rise to the standards we expect from his appearances in Gazette.

The ambiguities of his opinion piece are befuddling. If he is saying that those who are politically conservative or libertarian cannot identify with a Christian faith tradition, he is not only out of bounds, he is promoting division among the faithful who simply do not share his political agenda. If his religion is his progressive politics, then his shallowness is lamentable.

I cannot understand how advocacy of the use of government force to achieve political ends is more consistent with the Christian tradition than laissez-faire.

At the Bull Moose convention in 1912, the delegates of the National Progressive

Party sang “Onward Christian Soldiers,” but they replaced the word “Jesus” with the word “Roosevelt.” Progressivism seeks to bring the Christian parousia into the here and now through political force. It is not just sending out the IRS agents and BAF agents and BLM agents to “make a better world”; it is more than that. It is about obtaining the sanction of the victims of these soldiers of the Lord to repent of their selfish sins so that they will not dissent.

I dissent from the reverend doctor’s mockery of laissez-faire. He is a special beneficiary of laissez-faire. Religious advocacy, practice and liturgy is specially protected under the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause, a feature of the Constitution that explicitly writes laissez- faire into the Constitution.

— Vance Armor

Oklahoma City

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