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Showing posts from January 8, 2006

Does Size Matter?

The discussion of audience continues in the blogs and comments boxes around the nation. MattJ, over at "Theatre Conversation and Political Frustration," in a post entitled "A New Approach," questions some of my ideas (how DARE he! Upstart!). He writes:

"I completely understand what Scott is saying by continually talking about theatre as the community activity; a community event. And it can be that, yes, and I love his ideas for intense conversations on productions, informed community engagement, etc. But, I still can’t help but feeling that there is a sort of giving up or a relegation of theatre to the sidelines inherent in this approach....[M]y goal here is indeed to thrust forward, but with a different approach. One which doesn’t give up on a potential audience. It feels like an ugly compromise that we don’t necessarily want to make. Keep the integrity, but get the audience, build the audience."

Matt Freeman agrees: "What is so terrifying about bro…

Theatre on a Smaller Scale

Don Hall, over at An Angry White Guy in Chicago, has written an excellent post entitled "Is American Theatre Relevant?" In it, he writes:

Perhaps the reason theater seems irrelevant is that we are comparing it to the wrong art form. The American tendency is to view mass media as the direct competitor, the sibling of live theater. American theater artists like to compare/contrast live theater with television and film. We embrace the economic challenges of these mass produced stories as if we even had a chance. Arthur Miller is brilliant, a voice of his generation, but in terms of immediate fame and fortune, Harrison Ford will always win the notoriety battle. Perhaps theater should be looked at as a conversation - meant to be held in intimate settings and on a smaller scale....It's simple - the more people involved in a conversation, the less appealing it is. Continue to increase the participants of the conversation and it becomes one-sided. It becomes a lecture. Once the a…

How I Conceive My Blogging, Perhaps...

From an article I found by way of Arts Journal (http://www.calendarlive.com/stage/cl-ca-ehn1jan01,2,6186480.story) about Erik Ehn, playwright and Dean of Theatre at CalArts:

"As much as I can, I put my ears in the presence of people with something interesting to say," says Ehn. "Then the job is to synthesize and reflect back what's been heard in a general way — so, reveal the school to itself — and to be in a constant state of writing the mission statement and articulating that mission. Then, also reflecting what I've heard, in a pointed way, to people who can effect change. And thirdly, insofar as I'm able to conceive of change or enact change, to do that on behalf of the people around me. There's actually only one responsibility, which is to a kind of honesty, and every feature of the day provides equal access to that one responsibility."

Howard Barker, George Hunka, Allison Croggon, Matthew Freeman, and the Audience

Well, I guess it wasn't to be: me and George on the same page. I applauded the Howard Barker quotation George found in an essay by Allison Croogon and posted in his own post over at Supergluities entitled "The Dramatist's Imagination." Barker came out in favor of moral and political complexity in drama, which made my little Lionel-Trilling-loving heart go pitter-pat. But my alliance with George quickly dissolved when I wrote the following line: "I think the idea needs to be presented in a way that allows them to wrestle with it, so that the discussion doesn't revolve around the basic question of what the heck happened. "

George responded with a post tellingly entitled "Making It Easy for the Crowds," in which he wrote:

As I said in my reply to Scott's eloquent comment, "what the heck happened" is exactly what Barker and Foreman (and so many of their forebears, from Gertrude Stein to Brecht to Pinter and Sarah Kane) seek to question…