Wednesday, November 02, 2022

Welcome to the New Theatre Ideas

 This coming New Year's Day will mark ten years since I last wrote on this site. 

Ten. Years.

If you read the last post I wrote before I let it go dormant, Ascendance, Descendence, Reverence, and New Beginnings, you'll see described how I hoped to spend the last ten years of my teaching career. I actually didn't make it that long--I retired in December of 2020, just before the pandemic took my university online. By then, I was burnt out and ready for some new challenges. 

In the years since I retired, I edited, designed, and published a memoir-biography left behind by my late friend, mentor, and co-author, Calvin Pritner, called Mark Twain & Me: Unlearning Racism, which allowed me to get into print a book that Calvin had spent years writing. It was a labor of love, giving me a chance to hear Cal's voice again. I also wrote and published a supplement to Calvin's and my textbook, Introduction to Play Analysis, which demonstrates how the analysis techniques we describe work when applied to a single play. It's called Play Analysis in Action: Susan Glaspell's Trifles. I also wrote a "teaser" blog called Theatre Inspiration, in which I began laying out some of the ideas that I plan to publish in a new book about ways theater artists might take control of their own careers. I have not gotten around to creating an online course, but I did get together online during the pandemic with some of my former students to read and discuss a few plays (you can find this documented at Reading Plays With Scott).

So why come back to Theatre Ideas?

Well, I blame playwright Laura Axelrod, a longtime blogger from the Theatrosphere Wars of the Oughts. In the wake of Elon Musk's purchase of Twitter, she suggested we might want to start blogging again, since things on Twitter seemed to be going downhill. (Her blog, Gasp, will also be going live soon.) 

To be honest, Twitter had never been a great format for me. My ideas require long-form writing, rather than the aphoristic combativeness (or glibness) that does so well there. 

It also seems to me that some things are happening in the theater that might signal larger changes to come, and I want to shine a light on those things and brainstorm ideas. For instance, the closing of the theaters during the pandemic brought new energy to the exploration of digital theatre, with people like Jared Mezzocchi promoting it as an art form that opens new possibilities for theater to expand its reach.  I also was fascinated by the controversy surrounding Sara Porkalob's interview with Jason P. Frank at Vulture, and how people seemed to miss the truly important thing that Porkalob says (more on that later -- hint: it's not about giving 75%). And a lot of things have been perking around in my head for ten years.

So I have some thoughts, and I hope they will stimulate your imagination, entertain your mind, and provide an alternative take on what is happening in theater and the arts in our country. I know blogging is so two-decades-ago, but oh well. Writing is what I enjoy doing.

But enough about me -- what about you?

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 ...