Thursday, March 20, 2008

Offending the Audience

It seems that some have decided it is better to take offense to my post earlier today, than to use it a catalyst. Have they chosen to hear only 'talk is just talk'? Do they categorize my statements as merely an attempt to brush off their efforts? Are they disingenuously telling me that I don't walk my own talk, so what I have to say must have no value, and I have no right to say it? When I asked how can we stay active how can we evolve, are they suggesting it rude of me or unproductive to ask for the next step? And since I will not congratulate us all for having done half the job, are they in essence telling me to go fuck off?

Maybe, they take what I have to say as a rebuke of their efforts, maybe they just don't like being questioned unless the answer to the question is comfortable.

But, I do feel like I am being told by some, "stop talking about it". Or, "if you keep telling me things I don't want to hear, I wont listen to you."

Welllll, I guess I should have predicted that would be the response of some. A few of you have offered some support. Thanks. But, I still believe that there is a purpose to this provocation. I still believe that. I still value you all and the blogosphere we have created. But, like a close friend...I have to say sometimes..."look you have something in your teeth" rather than "my! what nice teeth you have"

I am discontent, but I am also one of you. I speak with sincerity, with frustration, but also with respect, and even with hope (though some would paint me as a total cynic).

I risk offending you, in the hopes that you will step up and show me something novel, or that you will push me back hard enough, that maybe I'll find something novel in myself. So, Scott, Ian, Don...all the rest...please don't ostracize me. Please listen and ask not "Who the Hell does he think he is?" rather ask "Why did he phrase it that way?"

We are all running out of time, there is only so much sand in the glass. It is in that spirit I push the way I push. Keep cheering if that is what you want, but don't tell me to stop grumbling.

Enough heartfelt drivel. Next post...back to cracking my knuckles and furrowing my brow!!!


Scott Walters said...

dv -- As I've told you privately, and I hope communicated on my blog, I'm not in the least offended -- I do have skin thick like a rhino. So I think what you are doing has value.

But I also think I understand why you are being hammered, because that was my fate not that long ago. You are right: a close friend points out when you;ve got something in your teeth. But a good friend also, and probably more regularly, applauds you when you've done something worthwhile. In fact, I'd venture to say that if your best friend only pointed out your flaws, they wouldn't be your best friend long.

We all need to be forced to go deeper than our first thoughts about something -- if we don't, we remain superficial. I think theatre suffers from a lot of superficial thinking because we don't critique ourselves with any rigor. But self-assessment is as much about recognizing what is done well as what is done poorly. Those who simply applaud my ideas don't help me deepen them; those who simply attack them don't either. Engage.

It is too easy to just call BS -- it is only half the process. You have to contribute something of your own as well.

So keep at it, my friend. And don't be afraid to go the next step,

nick@ said...

DVet, you won’t be ostracized unless I am also. Your blog is only one I see that is trying to instigate a debate between all those so solemn statements on the Value of Theatre. That debate and exchange of course could be the “next step,” but as you say people are too thin skinned and precious for that, especially “the-ah-t-ah people.” Although I am sensing that many theatre bloggers might be rock and roll enough to take that step, there would be a division on this. Another next step could be face-to-face meetings at local or national level. Not sure if that is a ripe enough option yet. Probably not. But I do like the informal way bloggers are almost naturally coming together, such as the reading of your play that we were at in December.

For me this theatrosphere talk comes from a very unique position in our national theatre. These bloggers are for the most part the artists who are also creating the alternative theatre work in this country. The twenty who spoke are of course not the whole of the fabric but they are more representative of theatre being produced in this country that those being quoted in newspapers and other publications. Mostly it is the artistic head of theatre institutions, with a $200,000 year salary, making these statements on the value of theatre. The statements we heard Wednesday came mostly from artists who supported and funded theatre through day jobs. This is the voice of our national theatre not the other one.

So what is important to me is WHO is saying it and WHERE it is being said. The WHO is not the artistic directors of the fully funded regional theaters and the WHERE is not the print media. How do we make this new WHO and WHERE become the representative voice of our national theatre? The theatrosphere will continue to grow and we need to consider ourselves the vanguard charged with the responsibility of directing the cultural trend. What you are saying here is that the new “theatre talk” has to be honest, not duplicitous and political (always politically correct as well) as has been the standard when read about theatre in print. Through the theatrosphere we are slowly taking the rendering of our story back from the critics and art journalists who once controlled its representation. This is an awesome responsibility and challenge as well as a process. Not sure how we keep on keepin' on, but I'l follow your lead if you follow mine.

Paul Rekk said...


I hate you. I've taken the cat and am moving in with mother. Don't call. We're through. There's chicken pot pie in the fridge if you're hungry. I hate you.



Don Hall said...

Bob -

You know that you and I agree far more than we disagree.

That said, there are two ways to interpret things when you feel like people are misinterpreting your point.

One way is to claim that "they are hearing what they want to hear" and misrepresenting your point. Not uncommon - I've read it where both you and Scott (and sometimes myself) have made the claim that people just aren't hearing what you're saying.

The second way is to own up to your own miscommunication. If an audience doesn't receive your point, it's your responsibility and fault, not theirs. If I'm not hearing what you're saying, perhaps you aren't saying it clearly enough.

Further, there is a difference between accusing you of not walking your talk (and if you aren't, there's nothing disingenuous about it) and claiming that your talk has no value. That's the fun and beauty of talk - we hear it, process and respond. Sometimes the response is internal and furthers the thought processes that ultimately lead to action. Sometimes it results in nothing but more talk - but tell me - what is theater but a lot of fucking talk, couched in neat stage effects, costumes, and the like? Your clarion cry of "Enough Talk! That's only Half of It! ACTION!" can very easily be leveled at the theater you've built your life around. No one changes the world by putting on a play. Those who see the play and are moved by it, affected by it - they go out and change the world.

I'm a big fan of provocation - I thrive on it, in fact. But I warn all those who decide to jog on the path of gadfly - if you can't take people telling you to go fuck yourself, perhaps you're just a bit too sensitive to go out and provoke.

It is the rare man who is both right and popular. Obama might be the only one right now.

Devilvet said...


I'll take what you have to say today as sincere, but yesterday you were just trying to jerk my shit. Admit it!


Devilvet said...


"But self-assessment is as much about recognizing what is done well as what is done poorly. "

There are a lot of voices talking about and happy with what we do well. I mention, one of very voices what is done poorly and the many more voices say, "you're looking at the wrong thinks" or "it is too easy for you to call BS"

Nick was right, in that almost no one said one critical think about our 'value talk', the majority of voices we content with what happened, so much so, that my lack of content with it has been characterized as petulant, personally insulting, etc. etc.

I'm hearing people say they have thick skins, but I'm seeing it

Devilvet said...

replace think with thing

I will admit I am a trerrible typisst

Devilvet said...

I'm hearing people say they have thick skins, but I'm not seeing it


Don Hall said...

I admit it - I was, indeed, trying to tweak your titties...