Monday, September 15, 2014

Vote for Comment of the Week

Voting ends Friday noon-ish.

Student #1 has left a new comment on your post "#Ferguson: Rebuild and Unite":

"Theatre has the ability to serve as the mirror to society, casting an abstract and beautiful light in the darkest situations. Theatre art carries the responsibility of sharing these realities from all perspectives."

I literally felt like these words spoke directly to my theatre practitioner soul, and why I find it, as well as all other creative art forms to be so incredibly important to us as human beings. We have social responsibility in this world. We should care about those around us, and not just those directly in our circles of life. In fact we should take greater care for those outside of our circles. Those people who have extremely different circumstances and walks of life. We should be trying to understand them, and cherish these differences. I feel that art is the way to celebrate life, explore it, and expose it. I have such sadness and frustration regarding the circumstances around Ferguson tragedy. I hope that we as a theatre community, and essentially artists can do our share in documenting this history and helping the world gain insights and exercise their minds to be more invested in social responsibility and change. 
Student #2 has left a new comment on your post "Who Needs Art? There’s Plumbing":
Like Sydney, I actually found it really interesting to read what Melamid's ideas. I didn't feel angered by his words either. I think that a lot of people are going into the arts because it's an easier way out of the "real world". A lot of us are always saying "oh, I would never want to be a plumber" "I would never want to be a lawyer" "I would never want to be confined to a cubicle" but we forget that we need people with those jobs. We need plumbers because they make our daily life so much better. We need lawyers to defend the innocent and help people get the justice they deserve. We need those people with cubicle jobs because they make an impact on our life. Most of the time, art is selfish. Initially, it's a person saying these are my thought and my emotions and my life that I want everyone to see. Of course art is beneficial to the world and we need it, but not everyone needs to be what we define as an "artist". You know, a plumber is an artist in their trade, as is a lawyer, and a cubicle worker. I think everyone and every job is just as important as the next and we should not criticize him for being a hypocrite. These are his thoughts and if he wants to be an artist, let him be an artist. I mean, who are we to judge? I have a lot of friends who started out studying something like engineering or English and now they are artists, costumers, performers, etc. And then I have friends who studied art and work in an office. I think it's up to us to say what is right for us and even if we don't agree with what someone is saying, we should say that we disagree, we shouldn't call them names. That's something I need to work on too. We have our entire life to figure out who we are so even if you're 20 or 50 or 70 or maybe even 90 it's ok to day something that might be a little hypocritical... we're all still trying to figure out who we are! 
Student #3 has left a new comment on your post "Two longtime Elvis impersonators say to know him i...":
It really interesting to see how people got into impersonations. Both of the guys said that people had told them that they looked like Elvis when they were young, but only one of the guys was a fan before. I completely agree that you have to know someone to be able to love them completely. These two men have really gotten to know Elvis on a more personal level than most people would have. It's really funny that Shandor says that the hardest part is staying in shape. Welcome to acting, good sir! So much of today's media is focused on image and not just talent, though being able to sing and dance the part is important too. I guess it is even more important that they keep Elvis's image because he was a real person. They could actually go for older Elvis and get a bit of a stomach when they get older. Now, THAT would be interesting to see: as they age, they age their Elvis impersonation too! That could work out really well for them. He had such a different style from when Elvis was young compared to when he was older.
On the note of impersonations, we should really get some Fred Astaire impersonators! That would take a lot of work too, though it would be great to see revivals of some of his movies. Ginger Rogers would be interesting to see too. They were both such talented people in all aspects of performance. 
Student #4 has left a new comment on your post "Robo-readers, robo-graders: Why students prefer to...":
Based on the title of the article, I was ready to write a rant about how computers could never help a student's education in the way that the teacher does. However, the actual subject of the article really surprised and fascinated me. Of course it would be ridiculous to replace teachers with grading computers (essays are at their heart a way of measuring how well a student understands a topic or how well they can construct an argument, not how well they can write long sentences with lots of clunky vocabulary). However, using computers to help a student write better (while not claiming to address the actual content of the essay) is a great idea. It makes complete sense that students would be more comfortable with having their work proofread by a computer- it makes me nervous giving my writing to my friend or parents to proofread, let alone having a teacher check it. I don't want someone who's opinion I care about to read less than my best work, even if it would lead to it being better in the future. In addition, editing is an awful task for anyone, and I know many students skip that step entirely, preferring to just hand in a less-than-perfect draft. Simply sending it to a computer, which would spit out some helpful comments and corrections with no judgement attached, sounds quite wonderful. If it was available, I would definitely try this program out. 
Student #5 has left a new comment on your post "At Disney and Universal, Musical Theater Fans Find...":
I'm horrified that these amusement parks don't abide by Equity rules. Re: Nikki, I'm sorry that you've had a negative experience with union members. But is the eagerness to work a non-union show a question of how much someone cares about their craft, or how desperately these [likely early-career] performers need a job? I am particularly concerned about the performers in these locations, since Disney theme parks especially have been known for overworking their employees. The union regulations are there to a) protect the actors, first and foremost, and b) to make sure other people in the industry don't justify lower pay and/or fewer protections because "such-and-such production could do it." Though the pay grade for "London Rocks" sounds aaaaalmost close to a small theater role ($414.96/week for a lead doing 42 shows; I believe Equity guidelines for a small professional theater say an actor should get $500/week PLUS benefits for a traditional 8-show week...are my numbers right?), the reality is that these performers are spending way more time and energy than they would in a traditional theater setting because of the "always-on" nature of their work. More the reason to protect them! 
That being said, I had no idea that such well-renowned composers were writing for these shows, and I'm impressed! That in itself is also a lesson in how artists (especially writers/composers/lyricists) need to diversify their portfolios in order to keep working and keep up with the industry.

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