Theatre is hard, and there is a lot to learn. Failure will be constant, and should not be seen as anything but failure. You learn more from failure than success, but only if you look deeply at the failure and mine it for its treasure. There are thousands of years of theatre history. and theory, and criticism, and they need to be learned before young artists have the right to be taken seriously. And even then, there is more anthropology and psychology and philosophy and comparative religion to be understood before they have anything to say that will be of interest to anyone older than fifteen.
Our theatre is shallow, and it is because young artists emerge from their undergraduate and graduate experiences uneducated, unread, and unchallenged. If they read more than a couple dozen plays over the course of four years -- and I mean read the plays, not the on-line Spark Notes -- it is a rarity.
If we wanted proof of the mindlessness permeating the contemporary American theatre, we need look no further than the latest edition of American Theatre. In the midst of a massive social and economic crisis, one that not only will affect the arts but also one in which the arts could conceivably play an important role through the telling of a new story about who we are, Teresa Eyring, the titular head of arguably the most important organization on today's theatre scene, took to the bully pulpit, Marilyn Monroe-like, to gurgle a Happy Birthday to Facebook. Could we get a grown-up back in charge, please?
Monday, February 09, 2009
The Prof Unloads
Scott Walters lets loose: