Showing posts from September 2, 2007

Theatre Education Part 2.1 -- Addendum to Tom Loughlin

Tom Loughlin's description of theatre education's Big Lies does an excellent job of laying out the false advertising most theatre departments use to sell their programs to the young and hopeful. Given the way "The Biz" is currently configured, academia is churning our far too much theatrical cannon fodder to be considered rational or ethical. Even at liberal arts colleges such as my own, whose focus should be less on pre-professional "training" than on using theatre as an educational "lens" through which to learn about the world for four years, we teach semester-long courses in auditioning. Auditioning! The end result of all this pre-professional careerism is a bevy of actors who are simultaneously desperately needy (to quote A Chorus Line, "I need this job, oh God I need this show!") and incredibly passive ("I'll do whatever I'm told") and ultimately lacking in a sense of personal aesthetic values to guide them in dec…

Theatre Education Part 2 -- Loughlin's Take on The Big Lie

Another great post by Tom Loughlin at Poor Player. It's called "Theatre Education Part 2 -- The Big Lies," and it is a great post...if a little unnerving.

Theatre Education Part 2 -- Loughlin's Take on The Big Lie

Another great post by Tom Loughlin at Poor Player. It's called Theatre Education Part 2 - The “Big Lies."

Great stuff, if a little unnerving!

Theatre Education Part 2 -- Loughlin'

Congrats, Ian, You've Had Your First American Blogger Controversy

Over at Parabasis, there is a discussion about how to have more productive discussions in the theatrosphere.

Ian, from "Theatre Is Territory," wrote in the comments box: "One theory that keeps coming up is that the U.S. was founded on a particularly individualist note (its what gives you your right to bear arms – i.e., "don't get between me and mine.") that has never really left the public conscious. And why should it have?"

Here is my response:


As an American blogger, I am deeply offended by this sweeping generalization. I demand that you provide specific and broadly based evidence to support your assertion. When you do, I will then discount said evidence as unrepresentative and provide as counter-evidence posts by six American bloggers who are really nice and never get angry at all, and I'll demand that you apologize to all my American homies. When you assert that the counter-examples don't invalidate the general assertion, I will demand t…

The Older I Get...

...the more Moliere's Alceste makes sense to me...

"Esteem, if it be real, means preference,
And when bestowed on all makes no sense."

"A man should be a man, and let his speech
At every turn reveal his heart to each;
His own true self should speak; our sentiments
Should never hide beneath vain compliments."

Act One Scene 1 between Alceste and Philinte reminds me of some blog discussions I've had. Perhaps Dan Trujillo should have set his rewrite, which he called Angry Young Man, in the theatrosphere instead of the theatre! Meanwhile, over at Parabasis, Isaac raises the question of how we can have less vitriolic discussions. At the moment, I have a headache and am out of ibuprofin, which makes me cranky and prone to snarkiness. Nevertheless, Tony's proximity rule seems a good one: "would I say it if I were in the same room"? I've had a lot of passionate discussions in my day, and learned a lot from them. But if somebody impugned my honesty to my f…

Political Mashup

What if the progress in the War in Iraq was evaluated in the same ways schools are in the horrible No Child Left Behind Act? Bush is pretty lenient in his evaluation of Iraqi progress while being harsh with schools who have struggling students and serious socio-economic challenges. But then we shouldn't expect consistency, right? Why not??? Isn't it time we stopped smiling cynically and expressed our total outrage? I marvel that I have allowed myself to shake my head over all the Bush offenses. Suddenly, I understand how the German people let Hitler come to power and stay in power. Yes, Hitler! And Stalin. And Mao. And every other totalitarian dictator throughout history. We must stop this creeping fascism!

Tom Loughlin Describes His Journey

As promised, Tom Loughlin at A Poor Play has supplemented my post below by describing his own journey through the theatre education lanscape in his wonderful post "Theatre Education Part 1 -- How We Got Here." I encourage you to read it in tandem with my post on the same subject below.

Theatre Education Part 1: How We Got Here

As I mentioned in my previous post, Tom Loughlin at Poor Player and I will be doing a series of posts about theatre education. It is an area that, understandably, I am very interested in, since it is how I make my living, and because it is personally important to my mental and spiritual health that I be doing "good work," work that has some value and contributes to the betterment of the world in which I live. But I am also interested in it because I feel it has gone terribly awry, and that, in fact, theatre education is now feeding the stagnation and entropy -- to borrow Tom's image from a series of his brilliant posts that I should have paid much more attention to at the time, but I was much too self-involved in my own tempest to consider Tom's thoughtful analysis -- feeding the stagnation and entropy that, to my mind, is killing the theatre. (Sorry, Matt -- I'm with Tom on this one.)

How did we get here? I am tempted to simply create a link to scholar Joseph Roa…

Coming Soon to a Blog Near You

The start of school has reduced my blogging. But Tom Loughlin of the Poor Player Blog (see sidebar) and I will be doing a series of posts on theatre education. The plan is for us to address the same topics from our own viewpoint with our readers toggling between the two. As the two resident old fart academics in the theatrosphere, we thought it would be geeky fun to do this. What do you do for fun?

Free Speech

"Free speech is meaningless if the commercial cacophony has risen to the point where no one can hear you." -- Naomi Klein, No Logo