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The Genesis of Stage Right Theatrics
Once upon a time, there was something called the Republican Theatre Festival. It took place in Philadelphia in 2012 and was developed by a left-wing (!) theatre professional who became tired of seeing her point-of-view as the only point-of-view in the shows she attended. For her troubles, she was promptly banned from several local theater companies. This gave me an idea: why not take a cue from that brave theatre producer and create a theatre company where the voice of the "conservative" playwright could be heard? Thus, Stage Right Theatrics was born!
Stage Right Theatrics, Inc., a non-profit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization promoting the Natural Theatre . Fancy IRS designations aside, I started this organization to give credence to a truly marginalized group of artists whose voices are systematically silenced. I’m aiming to change all that.
The whole idea of a conservative voice in theatre has, of course, been met with derision and scorn by the tolerant keepers of the arts in this country (and abroad). A number of years ago, Lisa Goldman, the artistic director of the Soho Theatre (London), commented thusly about conservative theatre: "What would a right-wing play have to offer? Anti-democracy, misogyny, bigotry, nostalgia of all kinds?" This silly, simplistic sentiment has been echoed incessantly on both sides of the pond and it continues to be the bludgeon by which the theatre world keeps conservatives at bay. In America, playwright David Mamet, upon announcing his conversion to conservatism in the aptly titled essay, "Why I Am No Longer a Brain-Dead Liberal," was immediately denounced and his canon re-examined. Is there no room for the conservative voice in theatre, even the voice of (arguably) our finest contemporary playwright?
I argue that there is ample room at the theatrical table for the conservative voice, just as there is for LGBT theatre, women’s theatre, Latino/a theatre, and a whole host of other voices that are presumably silenced yet always seem to be heard. I invite you to explore conservative theatre with me, a journey I have started with the presentation of the Conservative Theatre Festival® in Columbus, OH on January 7, 2017.
The one message I hope to leave with my audience is simple: disagreement does not equal hate.® Would that our adversaries understood this very obvious concept.
Oh, and that is I in the picture!
Who am I?
Playwright Robert Cooperman has been involved with theatre for many years, both in his native New York City and in his current home, Columbus, Ohio. He had the honor to have his play "Instaurito" -- as well as his play “The Flower Stand”-- selected for the New York New Works Theatre Festival (2016 and 2015, respectively). "The Flower Stand" was also produced as a winner of the Midnight Audio Theatre” script writing competition. His full-length play, “Kate ‘n’ Spence,” was produced by the Evolution Theatre Company in 2014 and he has had one-acts performed in New York and Columbus, including “Shut Up, Mr. Mandelbaum,” which was a winner of the ETC New Playwrights Festival in 2013. Four of Robert’s short plays were selected for readings at the Cincinnati Playwright’s Initiative in 2017. Robert earned his Ph.D. in English (with Drama as a specialty) from The Ohio State University. He is also the founder and president of Stage Right Theatrics, a non-profit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) corporation that promotes the Natural Theatre. Robert is a contributor for The Epoch Times where his articles about the Natural Theatre have been published. Aside from his interest in theatre, Robert is a connoisseur of parrots and an avid New York Yankee fan.