Letters to the editor

  • by BAR staff
  • Wednesday April 17, 2024
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Letters to the editor

New Conservatory responds to review

Maya Angelou once said, "When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time. People know themselves much better than you do. That's why it's important to stop expecting them to be something other than who they are." It is in this spirit that I write this letter in response to the recently published Bay Area Reporter review of the New Conservatory Theatre Center's production of Jewelle Gomez's new play "Unpacking in P'Town."

Theater is an art form that is meant to promote exploration of the human condition. It can take us to places both familiar and foreign. It is also a subjective event that relies not only upon what the characters' life experiences are in any given story but also the lived experiences that are brought into the room when the audience arrives. Naturally, varied opinions will abound regarding the impact of and connection to the storytelling. This is to be expected.

What is also expected is that a queer publication and its reviewer would not be indifferent to, or unable to imagine and understand, a story that highlights the challenges of living in a racist and homophobic country such as ours. And yet, that seems to be exactly what this reviewer has gotten wrong. A place where your inherent identity can invite emotional and physical violence, makes finding family in one another and a safe place to be together a lifesaver. This has been true throughout our history and for many of us, existing in the shadows is still a way of life.

In the embrace of a seaside resort of yesteryear the characters in this play call on each other and all of us to remember that respect, kindness, and equity are timeless universal desires.

Ed Decker, Founder and Artistic Director

New Conservatory Theatre Center

San Francisco

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