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Showing posts from July 22, 2007

Gone Fishin'

Dear Readers: as delightful as this charming discussion has been, I must leave you for several days. My wife and I will be taking a short vacation beginning Friday morning and extending through Monday night, during which time I will be staying in a B & B on a working farm where internet access will not exist.

During my vacation, it is my intent to forget all about theatre and blogging and teaching and fill my mind with things that will stimulate my mind, bring joy to my heart, and enrich my soul. Among the books I will choose between:

On Beauty and Being Just by Elaine ScarryThe Complete Essays and Other Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson
The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom by Jonathan HaidtSacred Contracts: Awakening Your Divine Potential by Caroline MyssThe Princess Bride by William GoldmanAnimal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara KingsolverThe Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories by Christopher BookerHomo Aestheticus: Where Art Comes from and Why by Ellen…

In Response to Mac at Slowlearner

Mac at Slowlearner has decided to take on both George Hunka and me in the same post. My response to him, and indirectly to many of you who have filled my comments box, follows:
This is not about me, nor is it only about theatre. It is about a culture. It is about a mass media that regularly focuses on the metropolis to the near exclusion of rural life and the south, and when it does refer to them, does so using demeaning stereotypes almost exclusively. The theatre follows that trend. So is there a NY aesthetic? There is a metropolitan coastal attitude that privileges certain types of content over others.I refer you to your own link of non-musical plays: do you see any that seem to be set in the south or a rural community? What I see are some international plays, some classics, and some plays that SOUND as if they take place in NYC. So what, you say? In the current theatrical climate, mostly NYC plays get produced across the country. Films and television are also centered in NYC or LA, …

That There Is Some Bullshit

"Theatre is Territory" is apparently recommending, "if you happen to be in New York," what seems to this former-midwesterner-now-southerner to be an insulting piece of so-called humor called Iowa 08, a 10-minute play festival created and performed by a bunch of New Yorkers about the people of Iowa and their role in the presidential election. These New Yorkers write "Of course, we don't purport to be experts on the topic," but that doesn't stop them from ridiculing Iowans through the propagation of idiotic and insulting stereotypes. If you think I'm being humorless, you don't know humorless until you've checked out their blog and seen their YouTube video, both of which are sophomoric.

This is the kind of bullshit I am talking about when I insist that the NYC aesthetic is not universal, and in fact is openly scornful and dismissive of experiences and lifestyles that take place west of the Hudson and in places with less than 7 million pe…

Welcome Back, Tom Loughlin!

After several months of silence that coincided with a stint as interim Dean at SUNY - Fredonia, Tom Loughlin quietly stole back into the theatrosphere on the Fourth of July without my noticing. Welcome back! As Tom notes, he and I are "generational contemporaries faced with many of the same issues and problems in our careers." For instance, his July 18th post could have been taken from my own journal (or from this blog):

It leaves me wondering where does real change begin? This is a very critical question for me, because as someone engaged in public education, it seem I really need to re-think in some manner how I will continue to approach the classroom. I like writing, to be sure, and I am in some ways glad to get back to this blog. But I cannot hold any illusions that writing will be a catalyst for change. it helps me clarify thought, but thought must be put into action. I need to figure out, and quickly, what form that action will take.
Where does real change begin? I'…

Tony on the Synthesis of Art and Entertainment

Tony, over at Jay Raskolnikov, has recently written a wonderful post entitled "Entertainment vs Art: Go Big or Go Home?," in which he uses the recent Harry Potter discussions to make his own points about what makes theatre really cook. After reading the post, I think the title doesn't reflect the content. Tony doesn't seem to be putting entertainment and art in opposition, but rather looking back to a day when they were expected to be joined. Tony writes, "Somehow we got the notion that art was different from entertainment; that art, that theatre shouldn't be entertainment, pandering to audiences. No one wants to be bored." Significantly, to my mind, he makes sure to quickly assure everyone that "This does not mean theatre should not challenge ideas, perceptions, beliefs, the status quo." I say significantly, because that is the way so many have come to think about art: if it is entertaining, then it must be pandering; if it is challenging, t…