Thursday, October 29, 2009

By Analogy: Alexander Chee on Annie Dillard

This has nothing at all to do with theatre or theatre education, and everything to do with theatre and theatre education. It also has something to do with blogging -- the communication of ideas through words. This essay by Alexander Chee describes his experience taking a writing class with Annie Dillard. Please use the comments as a discussion thread: how does this apply to what we do? The essay is entitled "Annie Dillard and the Writing Life," and it was posted on October 16th at "The Morning News." (Big h/t to Patti Digh at 37days)

1 comment:

E. Hunter Spreen said...

I love Annie Dillard - The Writing Life is one of my favorite books. I hand out this quote to actors when I'm directing:

For me, this quote expresses the persistence and attack I want to bring to the art form, to my work as an artist. And I have to say, that for the most part, I haven't met a lot of people who want to engage the same way. This is one of the reasons my last theatre company failed.

One of the reasons I first became interested in the Viewpoints was because Anne and Siti Co. have that same intensity and approach. Studying with them let's me engage completely and pushes to me to my limits. I can't get away with making lazy choices out of expediency.

But, similarly - like my theater training in college - this kind of engagement doesn't always apply in the real world of theater in the U.S. or even in life it seems to me lately. Most people are just too overwhelmed, or I'm not sure what the reasons are really, to engage on such an intense level.

I'll also admit that I haven't committed to writing and bringing myself in that kind of force on my blog. Part of it is laziness or at the very least going the path of least resistance and part of it, a huge part of it is fear - a fear that I don't experience when I'm directing or acting or writing a play.

All I can say is, I have better intentions and I know my target, I just need to commit to taking better aim or, in some cases, taking aim at all.

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