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Fat Katz & Expats by Mickey & Squirt


TwoDice2
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Hi my Friends,
Squirt, here. I have been contemplating the cancellation of our musical. FAT KATZ AND EXPATS,  which, until a short time ago, had been scheduled for April of this year. I have been told that our play was cancelled for not
being "politically correct". A few nights ago, just to refresh my memory and to reassure me, I,  and a group of my actor friends, took a long, hard look at the video of it's 2007 performance in Boquete...the one that made $6000 for Boquete's AMIGOS DE ANIMALES. After seeing the play once again, I was reassured that there is
ABSOLUTELY nothing in this play that could be considered offensive to anyone! FAT KATZ AND EXPATS is a comedy praising the low key, family loving, TRANQUILO Panamanians as opposed to the somewhat high strung, overly nervous Gringo. In the play, the Nudist Bhudist (and don't worry...he is never without his towel) visits the nervous Gringos and has a hand in calming them down a bit, with funny interludes every few minutes, as
FLORIDA GAYLE, among other interesting and quirky characters, makes her appearance as the retired exotic pole dancer, who teaches pole dancing for Seniors. Everyone wins, everyone comes out on top, ending in a great big rousing, BACK IN HARMONY.  I know that some of you haven't seen the play, since some of you had not
arrived in our lovely town by that time, but I truly believe, if you would ask around among the Expat and the Panamanian community who actually SAW this Comedy/Farce when it was lovingly presented to the Boquete Community on August of 2007, you would find nary a soul who was in any way offended by this musical. In fact, it was written to bring us all closer together, and I think perhaps it did. I am humbly asking for a
reconsideration...perhaps not, if this is truly impossible, for this coming April, as had been previously committed to, but perhaps for your next presentation, maybe even April or May of 2017, if no other times are available. I also realize that the presence of willing musical directors has been somewhat sparse in recent times. I realize that Rhody did not want to commit to such an undertaking at this time, and apparently, neither did Yella. I certainly don't blame either one of these two very talented musicians. I KNOW it's a lot of work. Perhaps TWO music directors working together might find the task less daunting? If not Rhody and Yella...perhaps others could be found who might be persuaded to try their hand at directing the music. It's not difficult music. As many of you may know, Mickey and I are basically country songwriters. The melodies are simple, but I am prouder of these songs that Mickey and I spent two years writing just for the Boquete community than anything else I have ever written in my life! If paying me is a problem, I can forgo that. I just ask that you consider giving FAT KATZ AND EXPATS another chance. I think it deserves it, and furthermore, I think the Boquete community, which I love so much deserves a chance to see it. Does that sound vain? You know what? I don't give a damn! It's a good play. If any of you would like to see this play performed again, or perhaps you never got to see it the first time and would like a chance to see it performed, please respond accordingly and be sure and let BCP know your wishes.  If you liked our musical, POSTCARDS FROM PARADISE, you will LOVE our musical, FAT KATZ & EXPATS!
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Thank you for writing this, Squirt. I too recently heard that the reprise of FAT KATZ AND EXPATS has been cancelled because some folks considered parts of it to be politically incorrect. I was completely confounded. I did see it back in 2007 (at the Fundadores Hotel because the BCP facility was only a dream back then) and thought it was the best production I've ever seen in Boquete. I think back on it often. For those who saw POSTCARDS FROM PARADISE, this is more or less a companion piece--but funnier. And it is about BOQUETE! Everyone is spoofed, but primarily expats. I saw it as no way insulting to Panamanians; rather, it highlighted cultural differences that we've all experienced, and Panamanians took part in the production to play Panamanians. It is funny, funny, funny. And the music is superb. Those who enjoyed POSTCARDS FROM PARADISE will be enthralled. My hat is off to you and Mickey for having devoted the time necessary to write it.

I know Rhody shares our view that it's a great production, and he expressed to me months ago that he hoped it would play again at BCP. He may be unable to commit to being musical director right now, but I feel sure he might agree at a later date. I am confident that it would be a resounding success and would bring in big bucks for BCP which, I understand, it sorely needs. Everyone who is new to the community deserves to enjoy FAT KATZ as we did back in 2007. I hope BCP will reconsider its decision.

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That politically correct person must be so ignorant that the Universal Adjective from Postcards completely escaped him/her.  Why can one uptight person stop a production enjoyed, and to be enjoyed, by so many people?  I notice that person is too cowardly to reveal his/her identity and say what the problem is, instead hiding behind a spokesperson.  Whoever you are, you ought to be ashamed of yourself, you great dictator of things that are proper.

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I saw the play when originally performed and didn't see anything wrong with it. I really enjoyed it. I seem to recall that Willy Edwards (a local Panamanian resident) had his debut performance in this play.

Even if FKAwere politically incorrect, the arts (display, performing, auditory, etc.) are supposed to, among other things, jar people's sensitivities on occasion.

I know Squirt (TwoDice2) and she hasn't got an offensive bone in her body. A soft, creative, caring, and talented set of bones, yes, but nothing untoward or offending in the slightest.

Not hearing both sides of this story, I still am willing to say that I would be majorly disappointed in BCP if its apparent policy of political correctness caused a play like this to be pulled down.

For the BCP board: let us hear your side of this story.

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2 hours ago, JudyS said:

That politically correct person must be so ignorant that the Universal Adjective from Postcards completely escaped him/her.  Why can one uptight person stop a production enjoyed, and to be enjoyed, by so many people?  I notice that person is too cowardly to reveal his/her identity and say what the problem is, instead hiding behind a spokesperson.  Whoever you are, you ought to be ashamed of yourself, you great dictator of things that are proper.

All of these things are easy to change by joining the BCP executive or turning out to their meetings.

I don't but then again, I'm not bitching, either.

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There are most likely other issues 'at play' here which we're not aware of.

My point is that when we don't participate and leave the management of community organizations to others, we need to be prepared to accept their decisions.

Using terms like 'idiot, ignorant, and cowardly" probably isn't the best way to bring about change, either.

Edited by Keith Woolford
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Point well-taken, Keith, about toning down the rhetoric until all the facts are in.

I actually asked a BCP board member about this and was told that someone on the artistic end had determined the issue of political incorrectness, suggesting that it had not been considered by the board. I also consulted with a longtime BCP supporter who over the years has been intimately involved on the production end. He said essentially the same thing, leading me to believe that this was not a decision made by the BCP leadership but by a member of the artistic/production side of things. If there are issues at  play, perhaps they should be considered by the board and a decision made at that level.

As a matter that is or should be of interest to many people in the community, I and others are seeking a public explanation for the decision and how it was made. I also support Squirt's position that it should be reconsidered.

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4 hours ago, Keith Woolford said:

All of these things are easy to change by joining the BCP executive or turning out to their meetings.

I don't but then again, I'm not bitching, either.

I'm defending my friend Squirt and her wonderful play.  I would never get involved on the BCP executive group or go to their meetings.  They still aren't revealing what it is about the play that some found offensive.  Looks like Squirt kicked the hornet's nest.

Edited by JudyS
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This has been sent to Squirt;and posted where she posted. 

Dear Squirt

You don’t know me. It’s clear you don’t. I have been the President of BCP since September and I wish you had taken a few seconds to ask any of the innumerable people to whom you sent your email how to reach me. I know most of them. Any of them would have given you my email address.

But I know you… and I adore you and Mickey and Shel Silverstein. I know you because as I was considering BCP’s desire to have me on its new Council, I had a walk-on in Postcards. I carried a sign they made that said “Maldiccion” on it and I flashed it, actually wiggling off my butt, at the audience right before Universal Adjective was sung by Jim Wasson. If you knew me, you’d know I detest Political Correctness and I laughed through every rehearsal and performance.

I have read your email with interest. Two friends on your list sent it to me. Then I saw your Campaign move to Ning and Chiriqui life so even though you have not addressed your efforts to the new Council or me, I am now responding in its name as I want everyone on your list to have a chance at understanding.

Several people replied to your email and postings. Almost all in a clear and positive way but I will use a word from one of them who was less elegant: There is no “dictator:

In fact, if there was anything close to dictating, it was that the Council before the one on which I now serve told us newcomers in July of 2015…in fact the words were spoken by then President Rhody Edwards in response to my question as to whether or not the Council would have any say in the choice of productions…and we were told, no, the new Artistic Director had been given sole discretion. We were asked to respect that.

Which brings us to Fat Katz. You and all those addressed need to know that plans were afoot to do it. In fact, Barbara sent me the script and told me she’d hoped I would read at auditions to play Katz. I told her I would read only if Dave Ross did not want to reprise his role.  Almost at the same time, she discovered that neither Rhody nor Yella could be available, and that scared the daylights out of all of us and you, Ms. James, more than acknowledge that in your email. Rhody tried to help us find another Musical Director. I even asked my sister in Montreal who is a great keyboardist and arranger if she’d come for three months but she told me she’d have lost her job.

Nonetheless casting began (maybe whole bunches of you don’t know that either). Yes, casting began and within two days Barbara came to the Council and told us that some actors who were reading at auditions were offended by the script (don’t shoot the messenger) and did not want to go further. She did not want to direct the play and in a completely selfless and helpful way, she called others here who had directed here before and pleaded with them to direct the play. No-one accepted.

My purpose here is not to argue PC. My purpose is to tell you that a combination of her discomfort with the actors’ feelings, her own discomfort with doing the play; coupled with the fact that there was no Musical Director to be found and no-one who would direct despite her attempts to find someone to replace herself, made her come to the Council and tell us she felt we had to cancel. Under all those circumstances and because she had been given that discretion by our predecessors on the Council, we voted to support the decision. We made our BCP Founders aware of the decision and while they both would have wanted the play go on, they supported Barbara and the Council in that decision.

If we have a new Musical Director and a guest Director (our AD has already shown she support that) there will be every chance of us doing Fat Katz next season. I hope you will work with us on that.

 

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"The new Artistic Director had been given sole discretion" in the choice of productions.

"Nonetheless casting began (maybe whole bunches of you don’t know that either). Yes, casting began and within two days Barbara came to the Council and told us that some actors who were reading at auditions were offended by the script (don’t shoot the messenger) and did not want to go further."

I didn't see any calls for auditions for Fat Katz. I thought BCP by-laws stated that auditions had to be open to the community. If there had been announcements of open auditions for Fat Katz, then possibly actors would have shown up who were not hand-picked by Barbara. People who understood that this community is not easily offended or mired in political correctness. Just a thought.

As for the Artistic Director having sole discretion over what plays BCP will choose to produce, if BCP chooses to abdicate their Board responsibilities to one person, then BCP is extremely foolish and irresponsible. It is not Barbara who will suffer if shows are chosen poorly and audiences stop coming, it is BCP and the community. To place the fate of BCP in the hands of one person, is, in my opinion, absolutely reckless.

Edited by Phyllis Mc
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Responding briefly to the two posts above: 1) Phyllis. Your choice. I simply offer to help and the offer remains 2)Judy, beauty,ugliness, racism, love, hate ... whatever... are all in the eye of he beholder. I found some of your earlier language about cowards and dictators personally offensive since (I hope) I am neither but you can say whatever you like. That is your business. If you want to have a discussion about what offended people you will have to ask them; I don't speak for them. There was a confluence of reasons and what matters in the end is that production could not have been mounted without a Musical Director. I know that Squirt gets that. She said so in her email to all of you. She has replied to my reply to her in a cordial and helpful way.

 

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It's easy to take potshots from the sidelines. I know it because I have done it myself on Ning. But Keith is right

We put a notice out every single month with the date, time and place of our monthly Council meeting. We clearly state that it is open to anyone; members and non members alike. We put it on News.Boquete, the BCP Facebook Page; Boquete News and Ning and we get 0-3 people each time. Now, granted it can be boring.It's a Council meeting. We make momentous decisions about who's in charge of garbage or do we need to paint the parking lines red or yellow...But please, understand something; every single one of us is a volunteer. Nobody pays us. As people who've been here for as little as a year and as much as almost two decades, we have watched successive BCP Councils take all sorts of "slings and arrows". Some of it internal and full of awful, passive aggressive nonsense; but much of it external....anger and finger pointing and innuendo from a few people here and almost all of that has been delivered second-hand to Council members. Dealing with hearsay; hearing that people are deliberately not participating because they feel they were mistreated but never bothered to bring that to me or the Council, is just insane to try to deal with. Read Lee Zeltzer's overview of BCP in Boquete Guide. It's enlightening.

Volunteers in this community have just rebuilt the stage. Volunteers are pouring a new slab and re-configuring our storage and dressing rooms. Volunteers are building new sets. Volunteers are hanging lighting..after a few days of little response, we now have, at last count, 15 volunteers coming out to auditions for "The Play that Goes Wrong". Those audition notices were placed all over town and on all social media sites we use. All kinds of people are working to make things better at BCP. Our Tuesday Market has grown; the new La Villa Cafe is succeeding, On our tenth Anniversary last summer we sold out our dinner dance and all performances.

It's a choice: If you prefer sniping and anger. Fine. Those who need to do that; enjoy yourselves. If you have a grievance to air; a suggestion to make, some talent, some time,  some heart and soul to contribute then please stand up and show up. You will be enormously welcome.

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I saw the original play at Fundadores.  It is wonderful.  Regardless of who is in it, who produces it or who directs it, it won't be as good as the first production. 

It is a stupid shame that someone has the ultimate power to deny the rest of us the pleasure of seeing it and deciding for ourselves (we are adults..?) if we are offended.  I for one greatly resent someone (ANYONE) making that decision for me.

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