Showing posts from January 17, 2010

A Reminder

The drama's laws,
The drama's patrons give,
For we that live to please,
must please to live.

--Samuel Johnson

Definition: Ageism


1. discrimination against persons of a certain age group.
2. a tendency to regard older persons as debilitated, unworthy of attention, or unsuitable for employment.

(h/t to my wife)

Let Me Be Clear

I want to make certain that everybody is clear: any comments I have made about Outrageous Fortune, or about the Arena convenings, are in no way meant to be criticism of the book and especially of those convenings. Todd London and David Dower are doing extremely important work for the field of the arts. London et al have brought the dysfunction of the theatre system as it intersects playwriting to us in living color. It is important that their work lead to changes, and not simply evaporate in a shrug of "that's just the way it is and ever shall be." It only changes if we make it change. Part of that involves discussing the issues.

The Arena Stage convenings are part of that discussion. David Dower continues to bring together interesting groups of people, and then creates an open space for them to converse. There doesn't seem to be an agenda beyond allowing intelligent, smart people to share ideas. As with Outrageous Fortune, we must not let the first step be the last.


Outrageous Fortune: Chapter 5: It's About the Audience

A Gripe
I'd like to start my comments about Outrageous Fortune's fifth chapter entitled "Whose Audience Is It, Anyway?" with something that is starting to gripe me more and more. On April 30, 2008 I turned 50 (no, that's not th epart that gripes me). My hair has been white since my early 40s; my skin has been white since I was born. Since getting a job as a university professor in 1998, I have been middle class. So if you look at my picture to the right, you will see a picture of the audience member who is most regularly and unashamedly bashed in Outrageous Fortune, and just about every forum, including the theatrosphere and the various convenings put together by the Arena Stage, where theatre artists discuss what is wrong with the American theatre.Even Chris Jones, who doesn't like much about Outrageous Fortune, feels called to defend the Goodman Theatre against the apparently outrageous charge that the audience there is "all over 60 and all white."…

On the Meaning of What We Do (A Response to Tom Loughlin)

In a post entitled "Trivial Pursuit" over at A Poor Player, Tom Loughlin is examining the value of what he does as a theatre professor in light of the events in Haiti, the recent spate of bleak statistics regarding American's lack of interest in the theatre, and the 1957 Academy Award (tm) winning film The Bridge on the River Kwai. It is an excellent self-examination, one that would benefit more theatre artists to undertake; indeed, one that would benefit all people to undertake. (And, truth be told, one that most all of us do when we get to be people of "a certain age." Ahem.)

Anyway, since Tom has put his thoughts out in public, instead of (or in addition to) brooding over them in the privacy of one's own soul, I'd like to respond with my own thoughts, focusing specifically on these sentences:
When you stack up the general public’s statistical disinterest in theatre against the general economic condition of the art and the artists themselves, the ration…