Showing posts from September 9, 2007

Theatre Education Part 3 -- Production

Over at A Poor Player, Tom Loughlin has posted a thoughtful essay about the conservative nature of most drama department production programs. His most provocative paragraph says: "Why must theatre departments feel they need to produce seasons at all? If it’s the case that there are relatively few audience members, why go through all that trouble? Is it really the best type of training?" He goes on: "If theatre is to become more innovative, I think that the time we take to produce a theatre season might be better spent allowing students to be creative rather than re-creative. Given the opportunity, young people can be astoundingly expressive. If the usual time spent in rehearsals were spent as time learning how to write and do shows in found spaces, we’ve be better able to make some breakthroughs, perhaps, in theatrical form, in writing style, in thematic content, and perhaps in many other areas."

I, too, have made that argument. In fact, one year I turned my annua…

Laura Axelrod

In a few clear, reflective, and ultimately painful paragraphs, Laura Axelrod looks back over her time as a blogger, paying particular attention to her time as a theatre blogger. As one of the earliest members of the theatrosphere, and as of a month ago one of those who has given up writing about the theatre, she offers some trenchant remarks about her experiences. The one that particularly lodged like a burr on a sweater was this: "I noticed how my very best entries got little response from [the theatre] community." I have noticed this as well. As someone who often checks my hit counter and tries to figure out what the readers seem to be responding to, the answer too often seems to be "dustups" -- my hit count soars the minute someone finds something I've written offensive. Nevertheless, posts that the recent ones Tom and I have been doing about theatre education have seen a consistent growth in readership. So I find it puzzling how few comments there have been…

Theatre Education -- Part 3.0 (Loughlin)

Tom Loughlin at "A Poor Player" continues our series on theatre education with a great discussion of the purpose and expectations of Theatre Department productions. As usual, it'll get you thinking. I'll chime in soon -- probably later tonight or tomorrow.

Theatre Education 2.2 -- Corporate Training

As a drama professor, I represent our department at many university Open Houses where potential students and their parents come to see what we offer. We have our brochures and production photos on display boards to dazzle the students, and of course we don't have a stack of handouts showing the latest Actors Equity employment figures -- no sense scaring people away, right? But we do have a plastic file for the parents that is filled with a hand-out called "What Can You "Do" With a Theatre Major?" This hand-out lists 25 "special advantages" that a theatre major has over other majors as far as employment in the corporate world. These run the gamut from "oral communication skills" to "self-discipline," and are designed to mollify fearful parents who worry about junior's employment fate. Junior now will have a repost when someone makes the inevitable "you want fries with that" crack. The central argument is that business …