My Super Overdue, Kind of Ridiculous Website Update

When you do what I do, which is write and edit and sit in front of a computer all…the…time, the last thing you want to do when you have a free non-writing time is to open your laptop yet again and update your website. Sometimes a girl just wants to watch TV, okay? And then weeks go by, you keep putting it off. Then as the months start to stack up, you look up at the tall tower of tasks you have to do in order to really get your website up to date, become almost embarrassed to tell people you have a website, and then you to bury your head further into the sand (or in my case, the couch) and watch another episode of “Jessica Jones.”

And then people started visiting my website again, probably because I wrote this kind of controversial thing and this other kind of controversial thing, and some other non-controversial, but pretty fun things, and then I realized that I really should try to clean up my portfolio and put a better face out into the world (besides the slightly annoying on on my Twitter account).

So I present the newly updated DiepTran.com where you can find my favorite recent projects on the homepage, and where you can check back to this blog for my latest bylines (which is this one by the way), plus musings that are too short for an op-ed but too long for Twitter. So if you feel like reading some longform or pithy opinions about theater, pull up a chair. I’m glad to have you.

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White People Wearing Headdresses in Ridley Scott’s “Exodus”

I just saw the trailer for Ridley Scott’s “10 Commandments” re-make “Exodus: Gods and Kings.” 58 years after Charlton Heston shouted “Let My People Go” (I can’t remember if he actually says that in the movie or if I’m just having a “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” flashback), Christian Bale is going to be growing his best hipster beard to play Moses. The trailer’s below.

 

 

Now here’s a question for you. Who looks more Egyptian?

Australian actor Joel Edgerton?

The eyeliner's making his eyes water
He’s sad because he’s wearing guy-liner.

Or Eurasian actor Yul Brynner?

"You know my head dress is fabulous."
“You know my head dress is fabulous.”

Or real-life Egyptian actor Khaled El Nabawy who was actually in Ridley Scott’s “Kingdom of Heaven” (he played a minor role).

Khaled El Nabawy

It’s not every day you see old Hollywood being (a millimeter more) more progressive than new Hollywood. Because at the very least, Yul Brynner was partly Asian, which isn’t Egyptian but at least it’s somewhere on the people of color spectrum.

Every time I hear someone say, “Look! There’s a show/movie featuring an Asian/Latino/Black main character/family! Progress!” I’m just going to point to Joel Edgerton wearing self-tanning lotion and eye-liner and shake my head. The day that actors of color regularly occupy leading roles in high-profile, blockbuster films, then that will be progress. Until then, I’m just going to be laughing at the white people wearing bronzer and ridiculous headdresses.

The Consequences of Free Labor

I’m going to be slightly hyperbolic in this post because this is something that’s been bothering me for a while.

In April, I saw a play called “The Mysteries” at the Flea Theater in downtown Manhattan. It was a 5.5-hour adaptation of “The Bible.” Afterwards, I left feeling a mixture of rapture and guilt. It was a magnificent, ambitious piece of work that is rarely seen in the theater these days. And at the same time, I also felt immensely guilty afterwards. I felt drained and yet, if I was feeling like I’ve been marathon-watching “Lord of the Rings,” the cast probably felt like they were marathon-ing “Harry Potter.”

Not only did they perform for 5.5 hours for my enjoyment, they were also playing gracious hosts: serving me dinner, posing for Facebook photos and making conversation with me during intermission. It was well beyond your typical actors’ duties at a theater. The Bats (the Flea’s resident acting ensemble which perform in all of the shows at the theater) acted for 5.5 hours and then entertained the audience before, after and during intermission. Add that to getting ready for the show, cleaning up after the audience leaves, the actors in “The Mysteries” probably put in close to 7+ hours a night, 4 times a week. That’s almost a full workday.

And they don’t get paid for any of that time. Continue reading

A Woman’s Right to Sex

If this post is too long for you, just read this comic from the Daily Kos for the short version of what I want to say.
If this post is too long for you, just read this comic from the Daily Kos for the short version of what I want to say.

When Sandra Fluke spoke on the floor of Congress about the values of birth control in 2012, I noticed she left a valuable talking point out. And with the Supreme Court ruling in the case of Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby, I’ve noticed the same omission.

Why is it, when defending access to birth control, the primary reason that many women (99% to be exact) use (to prevent pregnancy) is avoided? In Fluke’s testimony to Congress, the crux of her argument was that birth control can be used to treat many health risks to women:

One woman told us  doctors believe she has endometriosis, but it can’t be proven without surgery, so the insurance hasn’t been willing to cover her medication. Recently, another friend of mine told me that she also has polycystic ovarian syndrome. She’s struggling to pay for her medication and is terrified to not have access to it. Due to the barriers erected by Georgetown’s policy, she hasn’t been reimbursed for her medication since last August. I sincerely pray that we don’t have to wait until she loses an ovary or is diagnosed with cancer before her needs and the needs of all of these women are taken seriously.

Why is preventing pregnancy not as important as preventing cysts, ovarian cancer or endometriosis? If you are a normal, human woman like me (who wants to have sex with my boyfriend whenever I want) having stress-free, no-risk sex is a damn important priority. And for a majority of women, being able to receive the same sexual privileges that men have, is one step closer to equality. Continue reading

Dream Jobs, the Lack of Long-Term Goals and Turning 26

lena-dunham-cake
My birthday will probably include me and a whole cake.

 

So tomorrow is my birthday and I’m turning 26. Which, if I was feeling terribly morbid, indicates that I’m one year more in that long march towards death. And if I was feeling optimistic, I’m one year wiser. I go from one to the other on an almost daily basis.

A few months ago, I started online dating on OkCupid and one of the questions they ask you to fill out on your profile is, “What I’m doing with my life….” It’s the obligatory, “What is your job question,” from which you discern what the person’s income probably is (if they don’t state it in their profile). And what I filled out is, “I get paid to write all day. It’s pretty awesome.” The man I’m dating right now, in one of our initial messages, he wrote, “It sounds like you found your dream job.” Continue reading