I’m applying for a grant, to produce readings of my dot-com play. This is the first grant I’ve applied for in eight years. Or has it been nine? A long time ago. And it’s the first time I’ve applied for a grant to produce my own work. I’m actually asking people for money! I’ve always had a hard time doing this.
What I want to accomplish
I want to produce readings of The New Frontier Media Company (my “dot-com play”), and have discussions afterwards about race. I want to make a safe space for white people to talk candidly about race. I want to help white people have happier, richer, and more-comfortable lives by helping them feel comfortable in cultures other than their own.
I believe that one thing that can make this country a better place, is if people of different races have better everyday interactions; if they are more comfortable with each other in their daily lives, more confident in interacting with each other, more open, and more enriched by different cultures. Great leaders like the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Mrs. Rosa Parks, and Mrs. Daisy Bates can lead the big revolutions. I can help people have small experiences, building a better world from the ground up rather than from the top down.
If you’ve read the two versions of the scene that I’ve posted here (How can white people talk to other white people about race? and How can white people talk to other white people about race? #2), you know that the character Sally is a white woman who has had significant experiences in an African-American community. And if you know me, you know that… well, you know that Sally is basically me. What helped me most powerfully to understand what it means to be white, what it means to have privilege, and how to be more confident and courteous with people of other races, have been my experiences in an African-American community.
But not everybody can have the experiences I’ve had. You would have to fall in love with an African-American and spend significant time with his or her family, church, and community. I’ll understand if you don’t want to do that – like, for example, if you’re already partnered with someone. 🙂
So how can you have these experiences? In the theater! When you go to the theater, you’re sitting there, with other people, watching still more people portray characters; those characters are having experiences, and you’re right there, right in your body, while they have them. Theater is the only place where you can do that.
How I plan to accomplish it
I’m going to produce two weekends of readings of my dot-com play. It’ll actually start with a minimally rehearsed, rough reading, to get the footer and word out and make people excited about seeing the polished reading. I’ll have a discussion afterwords, and make notes about the questions and issues people raise.
I’ll get a good director, who will cast actors, and we’ll rehearse the play. We’ll discuss the issues then, too.
Then two weekends of readings, with discussions after each reading. A program with all kinds of information about the issues, to help people answer the questions they’ve been asking.
And I want to do an audience impact study! Have you heard about the book “Counting New Beans?” It turns out that you can actually find out if your play is having the emotional impact you want to have, if your passion is being communicated.
The deadline is…
… July 19. I have to write some narratives, do a budget, get some work samples together, ask some people to work with me. I’ve got a lot of work to do.
Any tips? Suggestions?
Have you written grant proposals? What should I know?