Sunday, March 02, 2014

Vote For Comment of the Week

As usual, voting closes Friday at noon.

Student #1 has left a new comment on your post "Broadway Bots: Robots Take Lead Roles in Drama, St...":

I have mixed feelings about the concept of robots on stage.
On one hand, I attend a world class drama school where we train actors to use their whole self to embody a character. How can we expect a robot to ever come close to this level of technique? We can't, and it's sad to think that people are trying. Robotic technology is not advanced enough to type in the numbers for the Captcha below this blog's post window, let alone emotionally embody a character.
On the other hand, I attend a university with the best robotics program on the planet. If anybody could do this, it would be here.
So where does this leave actors in the equation? I'm not sure.
Perhaps this could open a up a whole new field in the performing arts. Trained performers who also possess programming knowledge could be valuable in programming robots to be performers. Using the skills and techniques learned though performance classes, they pass that knowledge along to there performance robots to help them become amazing performers.
Where does this leave performer though? Automobile factories, warehouses, and even banks are cutting jobs in favor of robotic alternatives now. When robots can sing and dance, where does this leave actors?
Luckily, it doesn't hurt actors at all. There is a special quality that only a live performer has. It's a special ability that can't be programmed into even the most complex robots. And luckily, most patrons of the performing arts attend performances just to experience that quality. That quality is emotion, and emotion (at least until the Cylons rise) is something that only a live human performer can ever have.
Student #2 has left a new comment on your post "Reviewing Student Theater is an Invisible Taboo: C...":
I come from a suburb of Boston, MA, and found this article to be exceptionally true. Where I'm from, criticism is taken harshly, although we are encouraged to be constructive and help others. Student theatre was a realm untouched, however, and because I was so a part of my high school's theatre program, I quickly began to recognize it. I demanded real critique for my work. And no one would give it. Of course, it made me feel worse than it was intended to. I believed that no one had the heart to tell me I was horrible, even if I truly wasn't.
That being said, there is a time and there is a place. If someone asks me what I thought of their work, I will tell them. If they do not ask, there's no point in me criticizing them because 1.) That's rude and 2.) They'll immediately tune out and blacklist me from their advice list.
Student theatre is a tricky subject, but what's important to remember is that these are students. They are there to learn. And if they ask, sincerely ask, help them to continue their learning and enhance their craft.
Student #3 has left a new comment on your post "10 Lessons for Theater, from TEDxBroadway 2014":
Based on the other comments, it looks like the piece about cell phones really stuck out; it did for me too. While I think new ways of engaging the audience are interesting, I have mixed feelings about what the article presented. A show doesn't need audiences up on stage or a web chat with the director to engage the audience. But for some shows, I can see how this can have a place. But like my class mates, I see no use for cell phone use by the audience in a show. Inside a theatre is one of the only places one can hope to see cell phones put away. I used to think restaurants were like that too, but now cell phone use during meals feels like it's been completely integrated into the practice. My former high school now allows cell phone use in the classrooms. I know it may be unprogressive to not embrace technology head first, but I think keeping theatre clear of the distractions of cell phones will keep audiences more engaged.
Student #4 has left a new comment on your post "We’re Just Making Movies":
This article brings up many important yet possibly taboo discussions about the structure of entertainment production. First, the idea that someone else should have said something is tricky. In theatre and film there are many many moving parts that all have to fall together at the right time in the right place. This orchestration happens in meetings and in private moments and the idea is that this analysis and discussion will prevent issues from arising too late. But what happens when something falls through the cracks or isn't actually communicated clearly until it has been realized.
With regards to hierarchy and not feeling able to speak-up: fortunately the crew heads and designers here are usually very eager to discuss aspects of their work or take suggestions which is great. I do however believe that in the real world this line of communication is not as open and speaking up may be discouraged. I think theatre artists may be more apt at collaborating and accepting ideas from all levels of positions but I would assume the same may not be as true with film. From our PTM lecture, the idea of "exploiting everyone's talents" but utilizing people who know more than you and listening to what they have to say is an amazing philosophy it may just be harder to organize. Potentially, tearing down the inhibition of people of less authority to contribute could prevent things like this that people that are in the moment and may not have as much to steal their attention could notice beforehand.
Student #5 has left a new comment on your post "Ensembles: Making and Paying for the Art":
Theater, and art in general, is such a tricky business. It's difficult to walk the line between creative integrity and staying true to the art, and making enough money to make art in the first place. After school, we will all have to choose what sort of theater we want to work for, that is if we choose to stay with theater. This article drew a pretty clear distinction between traditional and non-traditional theaters. Personally, it seems more exciting to be a part of a non-traditional theater company, as the concepts and goals are always growing and developing. However, the job stability and lack of variability of a traditional theater is probably very nice too. It makes me even more interested and excited to see where all of our careers will take us!

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