So some mea culpas… After speaking with some good friends, colleagues and my fiancée, I realize how what I posted in our recent blog may have been misunderstood. For that, I am truly sorry. My intent was not to offend… it was the opposite. Allow me to clarify my initial points.
Can one play whoever one wants as an improvisor regardless of how one identifies?
Sure. My point is… do it respectfully. When I wrote the initial post, I actually had my fiancée in mind. With that said, I am sensitive to stereotypes as they are often seen in our line of work. I have seen firsthand how a well-intended show can turn in to hurtful, offensive buffoonery.
Diversity among TM’s casts…
Yes, I have a strong preference for a diverse cast and yes, I do firmly believe that many institutions have vast room for growth here. I have grown tired of unique experiences as told by a cast of mostly cis straight white male improvisors. Having a diverse cast brings about discussion and portrayal of new ideas and perspectives.
TM’s approach is to ask our improvisors to play closer to how they present their own unique selves in the world (whoever that may be), and to mine their personal experiences for the basis of their characters. It works for us. That, combined with a diverse cast gets lots of authentic stories told that are not always otherwise discussed or performed.
Players will play whatever the scene calls for. The TM approach is just one method to balance out the voices being used in shows, classes, and rehearsals. In my opinion, it makes all the work better. If you have other methods, that’s terrific!
Respect, nuance, and balance are great, however you choose to approach them, but I feel that they need to be present in everything one does.