It's An Italian Thing. No, It's A Black Thing - October 01 - October 02, 2021

Chill Bucket Productions

 Director's Notes 

Dakota Martin, Director
I have to be honest. Before the pandemic, I thought I knew myself pretty well. I thought I knew what I wanted and where I was going...sort of. Jeff and I had officially produced a year of programming with Chill Bucket Productions and were starting to really develop a following and get into a groove as business partners and creators. The pandemic not only threw a wrench into our theatre hopes and dreams, but also gave me a pretty hard time as a human. I thought I was a generally happy person, going to work, rehearsing for plays, finding love, arguing with my family... But when we were forced to stay home and work from behind a computer screen with no live performances or projects to work on and no idea when things would return to normal, the world I thought I had figured out and the notions I had about myself were challenged. I did not realize how much purpose theatre brings to my life. I didn't know what I was contributing to or what I was working towards. I was able to lean on a few amazing people (my wonderful girlfriend being one) during this time, and Jeff and I decided to make lemonade out of lemons and produce different types of productions than we ever thought we would or could. I am forever grateful to him and everyone who took a chance on us during this time of uncertainty. We are now able to come to you for the first time live since February 2020! And what better way to come back to live theatre than in NYC!! I cannot believe what we have accomplished in two years from opposite ends of the country. I am humbled to have worked on this piece in such a time of turmoil, chaos, confusion, injustice, reflection, and change. This play challenged my own thoughts and feelings and caused me to wake up in a different way than the pandemic did. We were blessed to work on this timely piece with very talented, thoughtful actors. I hope our audience is ready to dive into this dramedy and really lean into the issues it tackles. These are so important right now. Actually, LGBTQ and racial issues were always important, but people are finally starting to see them, hear them and stand up for them.
What I enjoy about It’s an Italian Thing. No, it’s a Black Thing is its approachability.  The comedy of it is a great tool, and it shows how much more alike we are than different. The play deals with a lot of issues, but in a really natural way where the issues aren’t the entire plot and it isn’t contrived. The issues just exist. So often, we are consumed with people's perceptions of us, which this play definitely addresses. We are concerned with labels and where we fit in. Quite frankly, labels can isolate us further instead of lifting us up. This plays deals with characters of different races, different ethnic backgrounds, different genders, sexual orientations, and cultures. It doesn't browbeat or preach. It brings people together and challenges what they think is true using a simple premise that most of us have faced: "Meeting the Parents". We all just want to be seen and appreciated, no matter what our "label" is. Through this project, I feel like our small group has taken many steps towards listening and understanding. If more of us took these small steps and if we continue to take larger steps, I believe there is hope for us to make lemonade out of these hundreds or maybe even many thousands of year old lemons. As actors, we are constantly told to listen and react. I think it can be that simple in our world as well. True listening and effective reactions will lead to a greater understanding.

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