Note on Commercial Theater by Langston Hughes
You’ve taken my blues and gone
You sing ’em on Broadway
And you sing ’em in Hollywood Bowl,
And you mix them up with symphonies
And you fix ’em
So they don’t sound like me.
Yep, you done taken my blues and gone.
You also took spirituals and gone.
You put me in Macbeth and Carmen Jones
And all kinds of Swing Mikados
And in everything but what’s about me
But someday somebody’ll
Stand up and talk about me,
And write about me
Black and beautiful
And sing about me,
And put on plays about me!
I reckon it’ll be
Yes, it’ll be me.
DEMASKUS is a national service-oriented collective of artists and administrators seeking to make known the messages of the marginalized. We achieve this through the production and presentation of quality, compassionate, and inclusive artistic events. Everything around us is changing, but our purpose has not. Now more than ever, we must share profound truths from formally marginalized voices that refuse to go unheard and may even offer solutions and solace in a world in dire need of uncompromising reminders of what makes us most humane.
Most Christians will immediately associate DEMASKUS with Damascus–the Syrian capital that is home to the road where Saul of Tarsus had his transformative encounter with God. God struck Saul blind and confronted him about his past. High-born and scholarly, Saul was prone to violence toward early adopters of Christianity. The Collective’s name embodies the idea of revealing the truths that lie beneath the mask(s) of our own blind behavior and beliefs. Art, at its best, helps us to rethink and reimagine that which we think we know. Consciously removing a metaphorical mask certainly requires self-examination. (Based on an exchange with DTC member the Rev. Dr. Leah Lewis, J.D., alluding to Acts 9:1-8). Another source of inspiration for our work is the historic and notable poem, We Wear the Mask by Paul Laurence Dunbar. Whatever the masks you wear, we invite you to lay them down and join us on a journey filled with crossroads, but free from the expectations and oppressive standards of others. Our art is about us, made by us at times and is always for us. There is freedom here. Welcome home.
Images: You Wouldn’t Expect Production Photos © Martha Rial
Images: WINE IN THE WILDERNESS- Production Photos © Sager McDill