Event Review: Books on the Chopping Block with City Lit Theatre

By Olivia Muran
Contributor to The Underground

On Friday, September 27, DePaul celebrated Banned Books Week by hosting Books on the Chopping Block, a live performance by the City Lit Theater Company. The event kicked off at 1 p.m. in the John T. Richardson Library on DePaul’s Lincoln Park campus. Banned Books Week is an annual event hosted by the Office for Intellectual Freedom at the American Library Association. The event raises awareness of the censorship that seeks to dull the intellectual flame of readers across the nation. Regarding the dulling of said figurative flame, the theme of the event this year was “Censorship Leaves Us in the Dark,” urging everyone to “Keep the Light On.”

At DePaul, four members of the City Lit Theater Company performed selections from the Top 10 Banned Books on 2018’s list, including the Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, and Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. The list also featured many children’s picture books, such as Skippyjon Jones by Judy Schachner and A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Jill Twiss. In order to make it on the Banned Books list, these titles must have multiple formal complaints or ‘challenges’ filed against them in an effort to remove access in libraries and schools nationwide. Six out of the ten books on the list were banned because of LGBTQIA+ content, while others were banned for addressing teen suicide or political viewpoints.

The performance selections featured a mix of comedy and serious content. Many of the passages read showcased the importance of the book at hand, advocating accessibility as well as removal from banned lists nationwide. For example, the number one challenged book of 2018 was George by Alex Gino, which tells the story of a transgender character during adolescence. The passage performed at DePaul showcased the book’s child-like innocence of George’s experience, though the topic is controversial among certain book communities. As a result, Gino’s George has been banned, challenged, and relocated from libraries and schools.

The Top Banned Books list serves to call our attention to the censorship that books face when the content presents controversial topics. By filing formal complaints, censors restrict access to diverse communities and decide which books can and cannot be read. In turn, participation and awareness of events like Books on the Chopping Block during Banned Books Week continues to defend these restricted books and works to “Keep the Light On” when “Censorship Keeps Us in the Dark.”

Native Son Special Events

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Don’t miss Native Son at the DePaul Theatre School! In 1930s South Side Chicago, Bigger Thomas lands a job with a wealthy white family but his fate is sealed when a violent act unleashes a chain of events that cannot be undone. This adaption of Richard Wright’s groundbreaking novel Native Son by Theatre School alumna Nambi E. Kelley explores the systemic racism and poverty that oppressed Bigger Thomas from birth.

Recommended for mature audiences.

More information.

 

iO Theater Internship

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iO Theater is seeking interns to help with producing and marketing at their Lincoln Park comedy theater. Students will be able to take on creative projects that interest them and set their own hours for college credit. If you’re interested in producing or marketing, please send your resume and a cover letter to Shelby Plummer at plummer@ioimprov.com and specify if you are interested in producing, marketing, or both.

If you are selected for this internship, contact Professor Chris Green at cgreen1@depaul.edu and he will register you for ENG 392, the online internship class, for Winter Quarter.

A Celebration of Gwendolyn Brooks

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This event will celebrates the life and works of Gwendolyn Brooks, one of the most well-celebrated poets of the 20th century. We will be hosting her biographer, Angela Jackson.

Angela will be discussing thie life and works of Gwendolyn Brooks. Additionally, DePaul Theater School Alums will read selected vignettes from Maud Martha. The only novel she ever wrote, this book tells the story of a young black girl growing up in Chicago.

Angela Jackson is an award-winning poet, playwright, and novelist. In her most recent book, A Surprised Queenhood in the New Black Sun, Jackson delves deep into the rich fabric of fellow poet and Chicagoan Gwendolyn Brooks’s work and world. Granted unprecedented access to Brooks’s family, personal papers, and writing community, Jackson traces the literary arc of this artist’s long career and gives context for the world in which Brooks wrote and published her work. It is a powerfully intimate look at a once-in-a-lifetime talent up close, using forty-three of Brooks’s most soul-stirring poems as a guide.

Learn more!

Some Reminders, Sweet Deals, and Upcoming Events

Here’s a quick reminder for you research-loving undergraduate students: the deadline to apply to the upcoming Newberry Library Undergraduate Seminar is tomorrow, Friday, October 18. Get those applications turned in ASAP!

The DePaul P.O.E.T.S. (or, as their close friends prefer to call them, Presenters of Enlightenment Through Spoken-Word) will be holding their very first open mic of the year on Monday, October 21 from 8:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. in the Brownstone’s Annex! Come and perform your own poetry, rap, music, and more — or just come and listen while the P.O.E.T.S. peeps spit some spoken-word magic. And did I mention there’s free food involved?

1.th_.th_.ve_.GoodmanTheatreAnd finally, as all of us DePaul students already know, Chicago is known for many awesome things, but two in particular come up again and again: Chicago is home to the world’s best pizza and a fantastic theatre scene. On Wednesday, October 23, the Goodman Theatre, one of Chicago’s absolute gems for live stage performances, is inviting college students to come and enjoy both — pizza and a play— for only $10 per ticket! From 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., enjoy some Chicago pizza and pop in the Goodman’s 2nd floor lobby. Then, at 7:30, settle into your seats and enjoy the Goodman’s production of Pullman Porter BluesTake a music-fueled trip with back in time to the luxurious Pullman trains of the 1930s and see classic blues favorites like “Sweet Home Chicago” come to life with a live onstage band.

Don’t miss out on your chance to join the Goodman gang as the world-class theatre kicks-off its students-only 10Tix College Night season. Use promo code COLLEGE for online tickets or call the Goodman Theatre box office at 312.443.3800. A student ID must be presented at the event. For more information or to purchase your ticket, visit GoodmanTheatre.org/CollegeNight today!