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Wednesday, 01 November 2006



I'm going to think more on a real comment.

But I have to ask - how are you going to be at Woolly and Shakespeare Theater at the same time on the same night? I mean, we know you're a talented guy, but...?

Also, let us know what you think of Eurydice. I've wondered if that play can be pulled off by a company that is not Yale Rep or the like.


wow, what a good question...

isn't "art" subjective? isn't one persons trash another persons art?

thus... if one sees a play and says 'eh... but another finds something in it... who's to say it wasn't art?

I suppose that when making theater, one should aspire to create "art", whether or not it is appreciated is another story.

But I should also note that I don't think all "art" is or should be intellectual or pretentious.


I, too, am going to weigh my response before really dusting off the thesaurus - but I know I, personally, will be wrestling with this thought, born of recent epiphany: much of Art sucks. And much of life that doesn't suck - isn't Art. If the theatre is a brighter, bolder mirror for life, does it matter if it isn't Art? ...or put a different way, doesn't all of life worth living deserve at least the potential for theatrical examination (if the theatre is a way we communicate and interrogate - I love that) whether it is Art or not?

When I was but a wee lad in graduate school, we actually had to sit for two hours a week in a course called, perhaps unimaginatively, "graduate seminar" - and at the barely benevolent behest of a fading flower of a set designer/vis arts teacher who had, perhaps, been rapped too sharply on the knuckles as a young and still closeted Catholic, we had to debate, with a straight face, the immortal question, "What is Art." The funny thing is, we had an ancient little text from the 20's (yes, the 1920's) called Principles of Art... that sounds like it should be the puchline; but the punchline is that this trite little tome from the Lost Generation actually seemed to have a lot of good points to make about the nature of the thing or experience we try to mean when we say "Art" in a general enough way that we can agrree at least loosely that we are talking about the same thing.

Recently, I reread for the severalth time Robert M. Pirsig's dated but remarkable and courageous "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" - and despite a preponderance of material on the vicissitudes of teaching collegiate rhetoric and some pretty out of date info on actually maintaining a motorcycle, there are a lot of bits that get right at the heart of this whole "Shouldn't Art hurt?" question - the answer is probably entirly subjective - but that is the point - ANY theatrical experience is at least a stab at bridging the gap bewteen two or more separate beings - and if it can never be fully accomplished, perhaps nothing else is really worth attempting. But these days for me, the bottom line (notice how I am less than deftly wrapping this up cause I have gotten way off track) is: Amen to the idea, " Don't Effin' bore me!"

(Oh, look - my navel!) Be back later...


As an undergrad in a drama conservatory, I consider this question an awful lot. Here's what I think:
Theatre should be like restaurants- tastes and styles vary, and what sounds good one night might not sound as good another night. Sometimes you feel like spicy Thai food, sometimes Italian, sometimes a good old burger. There are gourmet restaurants where every dish is a perfect statement from the chef, but there are also restaurants where simple food just tastes damn good. While a fancy fine dining restaurant can be amazing every once in a while, it would lose its luster if that's all we ever ate. But everyone goes to restaurants, and hardly anyone limits themselves to just one kind of food. The obvious difference is that most people don't have the same hunger for theatre that they have for food- if we don't eat every day, we die. But if theatre became a necessary part of our lives, then we could stop trying to define art, and instead we could just enjoy its many variations.

Florida Refugee

Couldn't we spend time on a less pretentious debate, like whether God exists, or if a tree falls in the forest, and no one is there, does it make a sound? Puhleeze!

This debate presupposes that the purpose of theatre is to make art. I thought the purpose of theatre was to tell a story, and oh yes, sell tickets. Because, after all, you won't be telling that story for very long if you don't sell enough tickets.

This is not to say that theatre can't be art, or at least approach art. I can remember that as a boy of 12 I cried leaving the Schubert Theatre in Chicago after seeing Bea Arthur as Vera Charles in Mame. (I was the only boy on my football team who could sing all the lyrics to bosum buddies, but that's another story). And at 21. on my first visit to New York, I couldn't move for almost half an hour after the curtain came down on Dewhurst and Robards in Moon for the Misbegotten. I was afraid that if I left the theatre I'd forget what I had just seen.

Now I'm certain there are readers who would suggest that Dewhurst and Robards in O'Neill were the theatrical equivalent of Picasso or Monet, while Bea Arthur in a musical was just an extended audition for The Golden Girls, with an artistic quotient akin to dogs playing poker or a black velvet Elvis. I'm not so certain. I was equally transported out of my dreary life, at least for a little while, by Mame and Moon. Which is why, some 40 years after seeing Mame, and 30 some years after seeing Moon, I'm still going to the theatre.

So T'boy, my wish for you is that Arena's production of Noises Off is good enough that it takes you where you need it to take you at the time. Enjoy. And don't you dare feel guilty.

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