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Showing posts from January 15, 2006

The Totalitarian Narrative Indeed

George Hunka over at Superfluities (see blogroll) has responded to my post below entitled "Formal Inertia" with his own arguments apocalyptically titled "The Totalitarian Narrative."

First, let me say that I did not quote Aristotle as an appeal to the ultimate authority -- yes, all theatre people seem to be agnostics when it comes to any and all past thinkers, and I am no different -- but rather, I referred to him as an august elder statesman whose words show that the concept of narrative, of plot and story, is as old as the theatre itself. While I don't think that old things should be believed simply because they are old (nor, on the other hand, rejected simply because they are old), the fact that an idea has been held for centuries deserves respect, it seems to me. Aristotle is a grizzled survivor of the millenia, and not to be casually dismissed.

George seems to see the fact that people are "trapped in our own consciousness" as a failing we all sha…

Formal Inertia?

Not long ago, George Hunka over at Superfluities (see blogroll) contributed a post entitled Le Déjeuner sur l'herbe that examined Manet's painting. After an elegant and quite interesting analysis, he concluded:

What does all this have to do with theater and drama? Well, one of the things it points out it is how far our drama is behind the other arts, about 150 years behind painting in this case. Most of our drama is still playing with Victorian narrative form; as much as there are jokes around the edges of it, "playing with form," that form is not abandoned nearly as much as Manet abandoned conventions of narrative and allegory in 19th-century French painting.
I would question whether George's characterization of contemporary theatre is completely fair. If he means by "Victorian narrative form" the well-made play, or even realism, then I would say that many "advances" have occurred. While our playwrights do sometimes use these forms (for instanc…

Moving On...Sort Of

Over at "An Angry White Guy in Chicago" (I gotta update my blogroll and get this guy on it), Don Hall, in his post "Dust Bunnies From My Medulla Oblongata" takes to task fellow-blogger "The Angry Vet" for characterizing our discussion of the audience as follows:

Ever since I had to leave college behind for the "real world" I've been hearing these sorts of conversations which end up sounding like self therapy. It always breaks down into the following paradigms1) No one likes what I do, why? 2) No one likes what I do, fuck em! 3) What do people like? Do I want to change to please them?

In a comment, the Devil Vet writes: "where are the epiphanies that lead to more audience?...I'm frustrated with the conversations about audiences because I don't see the profit."

Initially, Don attacks the Devil Vet for mischaracterizing the conversation, but the challenge inspires him to write a marvelous post:

I believe the epiphanies will come f…