Playwright Robert Cooperman has been involved with theatre for many years, both in his native New York City and in his current home, Columbus, Ohio. This year, he had the honor to have his play "Instaurito" --and last year to have his play “The Flower Stand”- selected for the New York New Works Theatre Festival. "The Flower Stand" was also produced as a winner of the Midnight Audio Theatre” script writing competition. His full-length play, “Kate ‘n’ Spence,” was produced by the Evolution Theatre Company in 2014 and he has had one-acts performed in New York and Columbus, most recently “Shut Up, Mr. Mandelbaum,” which was a winner of the ETC New Playwrights Festival in 2013. Four of Robert’s short plays have been selected for readings at the Cincinnati Playwright’s Initiative this fall. Robert earned his Ph.D. in English (with Drama as a specialty) from The Ohio State University and is an Adjunct Professor of English and Theatre at Ohio University, Lancaster. He is also the founder and Director of Stage Right Theatrics, a non-profit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) corporation that promotes conservative plays and playwrights. In January 2017, Stage Right Theatrics offered the Conservative Theatre Festival in Columbus, Ohio, which featured six new plays with conservative themes (including Mr. Cooperman's "Drop the Barvie!"). Aside from his interest in theatre, Robert is a connoisseur of parrots and an avid New York Yankee fan.
Stage Right Productions, Inc., a non-profit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization promoting conservative-themed plays and the artists who create them. Fancy IRS designations aside, I started this organization to give credence to a truly marginalized group of artists whose voices are systematically silenced. I’m aiming to change all that.
The whole idea of a conservative voice in theatre has, of course, been met with derision and scorn by the tolerant keepers of the arts in this country (and abroad). A number of years ago, Lisa Goldman, the artistic director of the Soho Theatre (London), commented thusly about conservative theatre: "What would a right-wing play have to offer? Anti-democracy, misogyny, bigotry, nostalgia of all kinds?" This silly, simplistic sentiment has been echoed incessantly on both sides of the pond and it continues to be the bludgeon by which the theatre world keeps conservatives at bay. In America, playwright David Mamet, upon announcing his conversion to conservatism in the aptly titled essay, "Why I Am No Longer a Brain-Dead Liberal," was immediately denounced and his canon re-examined. Is there no room for the conservative voice in theatre, even the voice of (arguably) our finest contemporary playwright?
I argue that there is ample room at the theatrical table for the conservative voice, just as there is for LGBT theatre, women’s theatre, Latino/a theatre, and a whole host of other voices that are presumably silenced yet always seem to be heard. I invite you to explore conservative theatre with me, a journey I have started with the presentation of the Conservative Theatre Festival in Columbus, OH on January 7, 2017.
The one message I hope to leave with my audience is simple: disagreement does not equal hate. ® Would that our adversaries understood this very obvious concept.