Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Karl Miller: Great Post

Along with several other theatropherians, I recommend Karl Miller's excellent post "Against a National Theatre." Others have offered quotations; here's the one that caught my eye:

The Theatre, as a place, must find a place for itself that doesn't require submission to avoidable bureaucracy and scarcity. I have no doubt that there are more than enough amazing actors, directors, and designers to fully populate a dozen regional circuits, but that the overwhelming majority of them are sitting idle in New York. The same things that make New York an invigorating cauldron also make it an insulating womb. If one wishes to divine a sexy "American" imperative from all this, consider this next revolution our Manifest Destiny of the Bodied Soul or something. Artistic cognition can be contemplative, critical, cathartic, kinesthetic, and polysensual ... but it is also the site of something much simpler. It is sui generis and it is pure exploration. I've said this before -- we feel a kindred calling with priests, doctors, musicians, judges, social servants, and gym teachers. It's about time we recognized our kinship with explorers and left mom's basement. Because I'd like to think New York is the Heart, Brain, Soul, Womb, Tomb or Towering Cock of American Theatre, but more and more it looks like the Liver. Now before any of my colleagues bristle at that metaphor, recall: the liver is still the BIGGEST internal organ, and every drop of life blood must pass through it. So I freely validate any claims to size or universality. I only ask that we remember in turn the Liver's true function: to digest and detoxify.
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