Wednesday, September 13, 2006

More On Political Theatre

An old, old friend from my month at the National Critic's Institute at the O'Neill Theatre Center, Robert Faires (arts editor for the Austin Chronical) tipped me off about a fascinating article about political theatre in his newspaper. It is called called "Hang the DJ," by Katherine Catmull. Her analysis of what makes politcal theatre so exciting when it is good, and so damned painful when it is bad, is worth a read. Just a sample: Catmull quotes playwright Kirk Lynn:

"I have been thinking a lot about bowling and football. I think a lot of theatre gets made like bowling. It has an inevitability that builds but never goes away. [It] sets up the big ideas they are going to try to knock down and then sets about knocking them down. But really good theatre is like a fumble. All really interesting ideas are shaped like a football. When they get loose, there is no telling which way they are going to bounce and the whole contest is up in the air. Political theatre should aim to fumble more."

I like it. I like it!
Check out the whole thing.


Alison Croggon said...

I like it too - (and she's right, I'm sorry to say, about my fellow countryman Sewell).

Anonymous said...

Thanks for that, Scott. (I'm just sorry I didn't get to it sooner.) I like the football analogy: in the bad kind of political theatre she describes one watches a performance of people knowing the words rather than characters or voices or bodies struggling to achieve meaning.