Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Christopher Isherwood

Over at Parbasis, Isaac Butler wonders aloud what is up with Christoopher Isherwood's assassination of the new play Bach at Leipzig written by Itamar Moses. Isherwood writes that Moses is "clearly a writer of nimble verbal gifts and high ambition," and his play actually seems to engage ideas -- and yet Isherwood smashes him. Later in the season, no doubt, Isherwood (or Brantley) will write an essay in the Sunday Arts section about why American theatre seems so trivial, totally forgetting that they are responsible for cutting young playwrights off at the knees while wondering why they don't run faster. Now, I haven't seen or read Bach at Leipzig -- it may be as sodden as he says -- but I am ready to say that we should be encouraging, not killing, any American playwright with "nimble verbal gifts and high ambition."

Monday, November 14, 2005

On Being Provocative

In the previous post, I wrote parenthetically: "(And Isaac, thanks for introducing your new readers to the "Stop Attacking Artists" post in response to one of my tirades. Hey, any publicity is good publicity!)"

Isaac responded: "And hey, if you didn't post provocative stuff worth arguing with, there'd be no point in blogging, now would there?"

This reponse has put me to thinking -- probably along a well-worn path trod by many before me -- but... I have a counter on this site, and I've noticed that the hit count skyrockets whenever we seem to be arguing about something. In fact, the more abusive we seem to get, the faster the hits multiply. I have also noticed that when I post something that is beautiful or thoughtful, but not necessarily provocative (say, Barry Lopez's quoting of the Inuit definition of "storyteller"), rarely does anybody comment.

And it makes me wonder whether, by being "provocative," we are actually participating in thought-as-bloodpsport that we see exemplified on the Sunday morning political shows like "Firing Line," where people simply yell at and over each other for 60 minutes. Is there any room for thoughtfulness and reflectiveness in our culture?

What got me to thinking about his was George's post over at "Superfluities," "What a Playwright Reads." I wonder if anyone has responded to this reflectiveness...

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Congrats to George and Isaac

Our esteemed fellow-blogger, George and Isaac, made the Wall Street Journal this weekend in Terry Teachout's column. He wrote: "Many also write to offer insight into their own creative processes. Playwright-critic George Hunka ( and director Isaac Butler ( recently collaborated on an Off-Off Broadway workshop production of "In Private/In Public," a pair of one-act plays by Mr. Hunka, and both simultaneously blogged to illuminating effect about the experience."

Woo-hoo! Great job, guys!

(And Isaac, thanks for introducing your new readers to the "Stop Attacking Artists" post in response to one of my tirades. Hey, any publicity is good publicity!)

Think Again: Funding and Budgets in the Arts

Every once in a while, I think I'll post a link or two to posts written earlier in the life of Theatre Ideas that seem worth revisiting ...