Monday, February 18, 2013

Vote for Comment of the Week

Here are this week's contenders:

Student #1 has left a new comment on your post "Robert Wilson's Theatrical Universe":

I saw an installation piece put together by Mr. Wilson in New York when I was in high school, and it was one of the reasons I became involved with theatre. Hearing him talk about this disconnection he promotes in his work between narrative, sound and vision puts my memory of the installation in some perspective. I remember only bits and pieces, but overall my impression was of unease, a disjointed melange of sights and sounds, but not random or chaotic. It was a very carefully planned experience, even while nonsensical. For instance, I recall entering a room in the gallery, the walls of which had been covered floor to ceiling in a shaggy, almost hairy material. Towards one corner there was an elephants leg, larger than scale, like a roman column. As you approached the leg, drawn to it by a vague human moaning, you found in the opposite side an iron jail cell door, curved to fit the radius of the elephant's leg. Inside, standing with his back to you looking into a mirror, was a man dressed like Napoleon, hand in jacket. OK, so maybe it was nonsense. But the experience forced you to make a narrative out of what you were seeing and hearing. In a way I can almost see it now as an exercise in how our minds crave and devise patterns. Even when presented with logically disconnected elements, we find ways to make sense of them. It's the same capacity that led us out of the jungle, and I appreciate Wilson's work because it doesn't take it for granted. You have to work to get experience his stuff, and there is nothing passive about it. 
Student #2 has left a new comment on your post "Broadway, coming to a nonprofit theater near you":
Pardon me for being the naive flagbearer for commercial theatre, but is there anything that says New York Broadway theatre isn't "artistically interesting", according to Kelly? There's a really vile association in the public opinion that well-financed, fiscally viable plays that get mass acclaim are "crap art". Good People is not a fluff piece, it's a really strong play. Same with Mountaintop, Clybourne Park, Motherf**ker, etc. - they're amazing scripts that have the added benefit of being commercial (relatively cheap and simple to produce, as a result of cast sizes and unit sets). And if your not-for-profit mission statement calls for contemporary plays of importance to your region, I feel like these plays can be justified, PLUS will be solid sellers.

What gets lost in the middle are the voices of local playwrights, who without the slots in the regional and NFP theatres have less opportunity to have their works presented. That has to be a judgment call on the theatre with regard to the number of submissions and the strength of their works. The new play initiative listed in the article is an attempt at giving some development assistance and a guaranteed outlet for these plays, outside of the regular season. Also, after development, it's possible these plays may become the company's first picks for full season slots.

I suppose I don't want to discount the concern that X% of your season is going to shows that are being pushed out of NYC instead of keeping it in the family, but don't believe for a second that the NYC shows are selected purely on a profitability measure. Put good plays in your season, regardless of where they come from. 
Student #3 has left a new comment on your post "Shakespeare's Globe to stage history plays on orig...":
I love this idea. What struck me most in this article was the quote about the British being obsessed with their own history, and I'm equal parts excited and incredibly jealous that they taking advantage of that history to stage these plays in their actual settings. It's so easy when seeing a play to separate yourself from the action onstage, and so much of it depends on suspension of belief. Yes, this stage is only 40 feet wide but the audience has to imagine that it is a vast huge open battlefield. Actually being in that vast huge open battlefield lends a whole new and exciting aspect to watching theatre, because there is less suspension of belief required and so the audience may be able to become more invested and more involved in the story and the characters. 
Student #4 has left a new comment on your post "Tonight: Duquesne grad Eric Starkey brings the mag...":
I'm not particularly interested in talking about this show, but I do want to talk about something else. Lately, I've been noticing a pattern among theatre programs in Pittsburgh. Many of the actors who graduate from them stay in Pittsburgh. Except the ones from CMU. I was thinking about why this might be. I've never attended another theatre program in this area, but I know for myself and many others at CMU it feels as though all directions say Pittsburgh is not the place you should stay to achieve your goals. Maybe other schools don't share this philosophy. And I'm actually pretty grateful, because I don't think people should just stay in the city they went to college in. Regardless of whether of not you would be able to achieve your goals here, I think it's one of the most important things a young adult can do to let go of their college life and start their career somewhere entirely new. 
Student #5 has left a new comment on your post "Can a play with a mentally challenged cast be revi...":
This article REALLY made me think about how we as a theatre community view and critique theatre. I have worked with several special needs children in Youth Theatre back at home and we would always end up shocked by how unbelievably great they end up. I strongly believe that it is unfair to not critique a show normally because it has a mentally challenged cast, but I feel like the critic should definitely take into consideration the amount of work that they must put in to get the outcome the did. I think that if this is in the professional world, these people choose to do this because this is what they love. You should not destroy their hopes and dreams by critiquing them too harshly, but you should also not put too much of a damper on your opinion. Although this profession is much more judgmental, it is just like any other profession. You need to take things into consideration. It depends.

No comments: