There have been a lot of individuals flipping birds at each other over the Internet and let me say I will not put such comments up (if I even get them, my readership is probably significantly less than most others..ps. I do love those of you who read even if you don't agree).
I will put up comments that further the discussion.
I have been trying my best not to blog about all the stuff that has been brought up by Scott Walter's blog as of late.
I respect Scott as a fellow blogger, had some email correspondence with him on some of issues he has been attempting to address as of late.
And now that there is a lot less invective going back and forth, i find the notions being discussed over on Don's blog in response to Scott even more disturbing to me than a couple of grown men slinging rocks at each other via the internet
I hear people talking about what Theatre should do, what Theatre should be...Umbrella like statements about hope, intent, and community. I hear fears about the death of theatre (God it seems I've been hearing about the death of theatre since I first got the bug back in 1988).
I for one don't believe for a second that theatre is dying or in need of a major overhaul as some have suggested. My experience is that theatre, live performance is still as viable as it was when I first got wind of this thing called theatre back in the day.
How we distribute theatre that might need an reexamination, but when we start examining our content so that we are making shows which are more hopeful, or community building (i.e. sell more tickets because they make us feel hopeful)...despite our best intentions we have become cultural police officers.
Should theatre entertain and enlighten? Should theatre merely entertain? What are the responsibilities individual artists have to their communities? Should we consider activism towards those who do a certain kind of theatre that isn't to our taste? Or that uses stereotypes? Or that makes me fear for the future?
I put it to all of you that your first and foremost responsibility as an artist is to be truthful to your own intent whether that intent is purely narcissistic or wondrously philanthropic. I suggest that all this keening over the state of theatre has less to do with whether or not we are relevant or more to do with whether of not we are financially solvent. I say if you don't like the kind of theatre your community has, well then make the sort of shows you want to see. Don't tell me what to make. I'll make what I want to make thank you very much. I'll address the issues that are important to me. I'll use any means I deem fit (God bless the constitution) regardless of whether or not they hurt someone else's feelings.
You as the storyteller be true to yourself
You as the producer be true to your market
You as the director be honest with the playwright and the audience
Truth is what we should be aiming for...then let the audience decide if it is helpful, harmful, hopeful, healthy, strengthening, etc.
Stop apologizing for small houses and stop looking at your content as the reason. People are playing video games, watching dvds, raising kids, playing horseshoes, betting on ball games.
Truth above all else, yes even hope! And once you've spoken truth see who is listening. That is your audience. Embrace them, they are your community. Do not sacrifice your voice, your truth, your individuality so that you can build hope in a community that might not even be your own. Communities should built on truth, yes even before hope.
Consider the possibility that it isn't theatre that is dying, it is your community your country, your american dream....and that giving voice to dissent is as equally important than hope.
Aside from impinging upon another individual's civil rights...I say take your political correctness and heal thyself. Until someone can show me that southern white males are suffering lose of civil liberty due to "You might be a redneck jokes"
I say it is free country and let em write and say and perform what they want.
I want a theatre of ideas,dialogue,debate, and dissent rather than a theatre of hopeful intentions.