Scream Queens Part Deux: From Screams to Death Rattles

So the whirlwind first season of Ryan Murphy’s new brainchild Scream Queens drew to a close this week, a little over two months after it began. Shorter seasons are becoming the norm on television, but it still seemed to go by especially quickly. You may remember from my last post about the show that despite some problematic issues, I was a fan of this quirky horror-comedy mash-up, in particular the absurdist humor and spectacular comedic delivery from the actors. Yet as I delved into the second half of the show, I felt its charm quickly petering out. Was it just end-of-semester grad school stress and not feeling well which made me less receptive to this odd show, or was the writing going downhill fast? Let’s take a closer look after the jump. Major spoilers ahead.

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I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for/at Scream Queens

This Halloweentide, a new spoopy show graces us with its presence: Scream Queens. Ryan Murphy has once again blessed/cursed us with yet another television show; the font of his creative juices is ever-giving. As an avid American Horror Story fan, I was excited but also scared—frankly, I was worried Scream Queens would be AHS Season 5, because there were rumors of AHS going in a “different direction” this year. Thankfully, this was unfounded as American Horror Story: Hotel has premiered in all its provocative, disgusting psychosexual glory that we all love to be horrified and appalled by. As it turns out, Scream Queens is an entirely different beast than AHS. In its tongue-in-cheek, girl-power feel, you can see a sort of line of inheritance from AHS: Coven, the show’s third season. But take Coven, add in liberal doses of slasher flicks like Scream and Halloween, then multiply exponentially by Mean Girls, and you get an idea of what Scream Queens is like. Let’s take a closer look after the jump. Spoilers for the first season so far.

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Theatre Thursdays: Is Race Lifting in Theatre a Lie?

This month, Keke Palmer will be the first Black actress to take on Cinderella’s glass slippers on Broadway, following in the recent footsteps of the likes of Norm Lewis being the first Black actor to star in Broadway’s Phantom of the Opera. We’ve talked a fair amount about colorblind casting on this blog, and I’d say these are examples of the practice working for its desired benefits: making sure actors of color get a fair chance at playing a variety of roles, including leading roles that have long been considered “whites-only” territory. However, I’m asking the reader to consider: is Broadway seeing its first Black Cinderella, or merely the first Black actress to play Cinderella? What is the distinction and why does it matter? Allow me to elucidate.

Keke Palmer's debut as Cinderella is September 9th, right around the corner!

Keke Palmer’s debut as Cinderella is September 9, right around the corner!

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Theatre Thursdays: Diversity, Obligation, and Storytelling

We spend a lot of time here talking about how diversity is important. Creators should want to include diverse characters in their creations, not out of some obligation to some imaginary race/gender/sexuality quota, but because seeing characters who look and act like them is important to marginalized communities, and because it makes the story more realistic: after all, white men are not the majority on our planet.

norm lewis phantomAnd even more, because it just makes a story more interesting. It’s a sad truth that women, people of color, people with disabilities, queer people, trans people, and people at the intersection of two or more of those descriptors have it harder in life. I’m not saying that cishet abled white guys can’t struggle, but changing any one of those qualifiers (gay guy, abled woman, black guy, trans woman) adds another difficulty level in the game of life. And while this is a tragic fact in the real world, in storytelling it allows for a much wider range of conflicts. Today I’m going to look at a few different examples of plays where diversity has made me even more invested in an already powerful story.

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