By Laura Brueckner
TBA is an organization staffed mostly by working theatre artists and journalists, so it's always exciting (and never surprising) when talented staff members go on to achieve great things in the field. And here's one TBA alum who deserves an entry in our Hall of Fame: Dr. Emily B. Klein.
It started with a book. A few weeks ago, TBA's field services director, Dale Albright, received a fat envelope in the mail; when he opened it, out came a handsome hard-cover book titled Sex and War on the American Stage, by someone named Emily B. Klein. Knowing that most normal humans don't geek out over book-length academic studies, I figured it'd been sent by a publisher, and asked if I could have it for my best friend, a drama teacher and classics wonk.
Well, Dale wouldn't give it to me. He explained that Emily had been a membership associate here, and had sent the parcel to him personally; what we were holding in her hands was her very first book—on feminism, militarism and politics in American productions of Lysistrata. Gorgeous!
But it was when we opened the book and flipped to the author's "Acknowledgements" page that our jaws really dropped. Here's what Emily had written:
"In my long list of thank yous, it seems only right to begin with this project's true starting point, at Theatre Bay Area in San Francisco, 2003. I am grateful to my friend and then-boss, Dale Albright, for sympathetically looking the other way more than once while I quietly slipped out of the office to watch the anti-war rallies on Market Street. January, February, and March of that year were rife with downtown protests and street theatre as the US's invasion of Iraq grew increasingly imminent. In those months, between running in and out of the Flood Building among police officers in riot gear and groups of chanting picketers, I heard artists excitedly plan for The Lysistrata Project. The whole world seemed to be thinking about public performance and acts of resistance. For the first time, I could feel theatre's danger and its power."
It's easy to take it for granted that the Bay Area is an exciting place to be, artistically and politically. Emily had clearly not taken it for granted. Instead, she was struck by what she was seeing all around her—apparently while on breaks from TBA!—and followed where her intellectual curiosity led. And since she's recently moved back to the Bay Area, perhaps another book is on its way!
Congratulations on publishing your book, Emily—and welcome home!