New Year’s Resolution Update

One of my resolutions for 2013 was to write one blog post a week.  I’ve committed to this - except my last two posts were way to personal to post in a public forum.  I have no desire for all of Youngstown to know my business.  

So… someone do something that I can critically analyze (read: tear to shreds) so I can feel better about myself.

Sometimes I have to remind myself of this.
"Counterfeit innovator" is such a wonderfully expressive term.

Sometimes I have to remind myself of this.

"Counterfeit innovator" is such a wonderfully expressive term.

The Cult of the Miserable Ones

Something interesting happened in the weeks that followed the American premiere of Les Misérables.

But let’s back up for a moment…

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Theatre makes me a better citizen, both by directly confronting me with political and philosophical content and by reminding me of the diverse and powerful ways to be human.” -Pete Miller in 2AMt

Bill Viola’s THE RAFT and Sandy Hook

This was not how I wanted to begin blogging again…

A few days ago I visited the Butler Institute for American Art in Youngstown, Ohio for the first time.  While I was there, I saw a remarkable piece of performance art by Bill Viola entitled THE RAFT. 

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"From my perspective, all too often contemporary playwrights operate like the joke-writer he describes, but with a slight twist: everyone now no doubt knows the Aristocrats, which is the ne plus ultra of the operation Butler describes and the mode most often employed by playwrights. Not only does it set up a miniscule punchline, everyone knows the punchline in advance; the success of the joke is entirely dependent on the narrative which gets you there from the beginning, which tells you where you’re going. Most contemporary plays are very essayistic like this; given the homogeneity of the typical theater artist and audience, we know that a play that starts off about war will have something bad to say about it, that a play that engages with gay issues will be pro-gay. (Someone please name me the last big pro-war or anti-gay play you saw professionally produced.) In this typology, the “narrative,” which is essentially the entire play being produced, exists to narrate a series of points that makes the predictable ending impactful, which we charitably still refer to as catharsis. This is why I generally don’t like contemporary playwriting."

— Jeremy M. Barker in Culturebot 

"I believe promenade staging is a major part of live theatre’s evolution. In a world where entertainment is available at the click of a mouse, removing the fourth wall and placing the audience on stage creates an experience that can’t be streamed or downloaded. It is a thrill unique to the theater, giving the observer unparalleled freedom to interact with an environment that is usually seen from a distance."

— Oliver Sava in his review of the Hyprocrites’ Pirates of Penzance

A fascinating post on devised work in the theatre.  I’ve long wanted to try something similar to the RSC’s method in creating US.  I’ve never had the chance to witness this style of theatre in practice, though I see the potential (and the flaws) in it.

"The problem with theatre, of course, is the inflexibility of its start time. Turn up five minutes late to a restaurant reservation and your table will be waiting, five minutes late to a film and you’re still only up to the Volvo adverts, five minutes late to a gig and the band haven’t even come on yet – but turn up even two minutes late to the theatre and you’re greeted by the disappointed face of the usher which seems to say ‘Where have you been? Look, the doors are shut – and behind those doors are literally HUNDREDS of people simply more competent at everyday life tasks than you."

— via Guardian Blogger: Sans Taste

Happens all too often in real life?  Yes!  Future tongue-in-cheek monologue?  Yes!