In The Boardroom Where it Happens

By Erica Ortiz posted 11-13-2020 17:15


In the Boardroom Where It Happens from Theatre Communications Group on Vimeo.

Full text: In The Boardroom Where It Happens
by Diane Rodriguez in American Theatre magazine

“It’s not about standing still and becoming safe. If anybody wants to keep creating they have to be about change.” Miles Davis’s words have never been more prescient. 

As we all stand ready to truly embrace a brave new world of living, communicating, and experiencing humanity like never before, we the creators, producers, and purveyors of the theatrical medium must evolve. A new paradigm of creativity is upon us, and we must abandon what used to be and accept the gift of what is now.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we lost to cancer the physical manifestation of Diane Rodriguez—a fierce artist and champion of the theatre, hyper-collaboration, and women and emerging leaders of color. Her 47-year career started with El Teatro Campesino and the farm worker’s movement for justice, and it never stopped. This critical experience inspired and informed her work always. It is Diane’s voice which lingers in many of us and will continue to do so for generations—such was her impact on our field.

We are a small group of Diane’s family and friends who supported her throughout her two-year diagnosis, affectionately self-named Team Diane, and we continue to come together to ensure her legacy lives on. We have worked with Theatre Communications Group and American Theatre magazine to publish this piece. What you will read below are words Diane penned in the fall of 2019, before the depth and devastation of the pandemic had manifested worldwide. Before the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd. Before the long overdue publication of We See You White American Theater. Before the world rose up to declare, with one voice, that indeed, Black Lives Matter—this essay was composed before all that.

To some, Diane’s analysis may be provocative and controversial; to others her words will serve as a battle cry for the possible. Diane’s thinking was on the precipice of a conversation that is mission-critical to the future of American theatre. What better time than now to reevaluate who we can be in this new, vibrant, and uncharted theatrical landscape? Let’s work together to build a much brighter and equitable future.

 —Team Diane