Monday, November 26, 2012

Films and Festivals


       WHY POVERTY?



I have ended up watching a lot of documentaries over these past couple of weeks. Through my program at the University of York, I am working with a project called Why Poverty?, a series of documentaries all related to different issues of poverty including maternal mortality rates, education, and land ownership.

These films are really tremendous, and I do encourage you to check them out. They are being broadcasted all over the world. Visit http://whypoverty.net to find out when they are airing in your coutry. This month, they will transmit over 70 national broadcasts and reach over 500 million people. I'm not sure about you, but that number is hard to imagine. 

Why Poverty? isn't advocating for a specific single agenda, but they are hoping to encourage a global discussion of poverty and the issues surrounding it. It's thrilling really, to be in a day and age when people all over the world can hear the same stories, see the same images, and hopefully have similarly engaging conversations about what actions to take. 





Please check out this trailer. While all of these are fascinating documentaries, there are always topics that can really touch you. Welcome to the World or 4 Born is about women's access to health care before and after childbirth. We live in an age where these documentaries can reach 500 million people, so obviously we have plenty of capabilities. We have lots of technology and lots of money. In this same world, however, 42 babies out of every 1,000 babies will die before their first birthday, and 1 in 8 women will die giving birth in Sierra Leone. According to this documentary, the US has the worst maternal mortality rate in the Western world. 

These numbers are hard to imagine and something we must improve. It is inspiring, however, that this message can reach the masses over the course of this month. It is now our job to decide what we can do with that knowledge. 

ASFF


I walked down to the ASFF festival two Sundays ago to watch a day of short films. The audience gathered in these tiny little rooms, in old historic buildings to watch sets of short films organized by genre. 

The venues were scattered about town. The music videos were in the back of a clothing store, the comedies in the top of a restaurant, and the dramas in a historic sight in the city center. There is something special in walking through these unconventional settings with strangers actively seeking original, thoughtful film.


The films were very different. Some of them really stood out to me and others did not. But what impacted me the most was being in a small room with 19 other people watching art that wasn’t widely publicized or well known. We came in faith and with the mutual understanding that these films (whatever they were) were something of value. That in itself is something worth getting up early on a weekend. 


CHECK THEM OUT

Over this month I do encourage you to seek out the Why Poverty? documentaries. Engage in conversations. Find a way to take action. In the US, they will be available at: http://video.pbs.org/program/why-poverty/

And then look up an intimate arts festival that will allow you to watch performances in the presence of other human beings. It's funny, I know, but there may be nothing better. Wishbone will be participating in the 2013 Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival on January 13th. Go. Laugh. Enjoy art in the company of others. 




P.S. Some standouts from the ASFF included The Sugar Bowl and Oil and Water. Check and see if you can see them in your home town!


The Sugar Bowl - Teaser Trailer
The Sugar Bowl - Teaser Trailer
http://vimeo.com/26903479
About this video
"A chorus of eccentric and endearing characters takes us through the rise and fall of an island in the Philippines and its sugarcane industry. Stunning images paint a portrait of a charming place struggling with its past and trying to move into the future. The Sugar Bowl is a short documentary film. For more information please visit www.sugarbowlfilm.com"



Oil & Water
About this video
"We had filmed some great stuff with Bob, a truck driver hauling water in the oil fields for a feature doco called "Columbus, Oil Rigs and American Dreams" but unfortunately he made the cutting room floor and it was a shame to see his part go to waste. This film is a fascinating insight into working far from home in the oil fields up in the forgotten prairies of North Dakota. Music by the ever-so-talented http://www.nickharveycomposer.com/ "Columbus. Oil Rigs and American Dreams" will be broadcast on Channel 4 and Film 4 sometime this summer. It will also TX in Denmark and Norway."

Thursday, November 22, 2012

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!







 

We hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving! Whether or not you get the long part of the Wishbone, we hope your wish comes true!

Love, 

WISHBONE THEATRE COLLECTIVE

Monday, November 12, 2012

Art for the Greater Good



As the millions of readers of this blog may not know, I (Laurie Jones) have moved to the UK for a year to get my Masters in Human Rights. Who am I? Good question… just one of those Clemson kids that came to Chicago four years ago with close friends and whose sister asked them to start a theatre company.  And then we did, and I’ve had a lot to do with the ups and downs of it all.  So four years later, I am across the Atlantic learning about the UN and Global Justice. And where is the connection? Why human rights? Well there are a lot of reasons, but some of those reasons had to do with some shows I did with Wishbone.
 
When Wishbone produced SPANDEX, a play examining the issue of the death penalty, last year in the Chicago Fringe Festival, I became pretty empowered. Not only do I think we created a play that allowed people to ask themselves questions about power and the death penalty, but I think we made an entertaining piece of theatre in the process. I got to sit around the table with the cast and discuss thoughts, ideas, and beliefs, and all of it made me think how theatre can create change.






Since beginning my new program, I have been constantly reminded of works of art that matter in the human rights movement. My dear friend, Aaron gave me a play by Athol Fugard called, My Children! My Africa! as I left on my journey. I read it on the plane. It was a play dealing with Apartheid era racism in South Africa in a way so entertaining and intriguing, and most importantly it gave voice to atrocious inequality.

In my first class on Law and Public Policy, my professor showed a clip from a Harold Pinter play about torture called, One for the Road.  The play conveyed in a few moments what people have experienced for centuries, and it really personalized the trauma. The play obviously meant a lot to my professor, who saw the play in London, and was so deeply moved that he used it as a tool for his opening class.



 
Last week, the local cinema aired a documentary film called, Call me Kuchu (http://callmekuchu.com/ )about a man named David Kato who gave his life to the LGBT movement in Uganda. Everyone should see this documentary.  It was brave and beautiful. For all of our friends wanting marriage and equality in the states, it certainly reminds us that the fight isn’t over for any of us, and we have a lot of work left to do to insure that everyone has equal rights. 



 
These experiences reiterated what I already believed: art has the power to speak, empower, enlighten, and change minds. It’s not magic or foolproof, but art is an invaluable tool in promoting change and empathy.

This thought has made me very proud to work on En El Corazon, a play about displaced families in Colombia. Today, Give Us Names (www.giveusnames.org) and many other organizations are searching new ways to help displaced families in Colombia. I am so glad that Brian, a friend from the organization, asked us to give voice to this issue.

This year, I will be blogging about my experiences while I am studying. I hope to see different types of art while I am here and also see how art is used to advocate for the greater good.

Of course I will be keeping you up to date on all of the latest Wishbone news. Don’t worry. Wishbone will be doing some funny shows. There is room for all types of theatre in this world. And this next sketch show will be all about laughing your face off!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Letter to Obama




Wishbone will be a part of an event tomorrow, November 4th called, "Live from Chicago," presented by LetterToObama. The night is centered around promoting political and artistic expression where musicians, dancers, poets, and other artists will join together to reflect on past events and look towards the future. Actors from our ensemble will be performing monologues from En El Corazon, our original play about the right to housing.

It is an exciting experience to be a part of a community event that asks questions about our social and political lives. Tickets are $4. Come explore with us!

~WTC