The Post from last week, "The Post Show Round Table" has provoked some dialogue, which is all I hope for with this blog.
We had a nice little bump from rising theater blogger Dennis Baker on his site. Dennis was the friend that clued me into Mike Daisey in the first place.
Scott Walters picked up on the post, I'm guessing from DB and he posted his response which I post below. It's a response to my response.
Then someone from Articles About Everything re-posted it on their website. If you don't want to do the clicky clicky deal on the links, I'll repost the text for you, Lazy Bone Jones. (But, please, do the clicky clicky, we all need the clicks, and these folks have some good thoughts in their noggins).
"As has been the case for the past two years, Mike Daisey continues to provoke long-overdue reflection and questioning on the part of artists. Theatre artists have a single kneejerk response to every problem: give us more money. Or, in lieu of that, the other knee jerks “we need better marketing.” When i reality, we need to do a Cartesian rethinking of the whole thing from the ground up. Peter Brook gave us a good starting point with the first lines of The Empty Space: “I can take any empty space and call it a bare stage. A man walks across this empty space whilst someone is watching him, and this is all that is needed for an act of theatre to be engaged.” Three elements: a place, an actor, and an audience. What Brook fails to mention is the relationship between the three, which is what we need to be doing right now. I would argue that the connection needs to be ongoing, committed, and interactive. As Wendell Berry says in an interview in Conversations with Wendell Berry, “”I think art comes about in answer to a need. At least, mine does. The community needs to talk about itself, needs to remember itself. It needs to recall significant things that have happened, and to mull them over and figure out what the significance is.” In this case, “itself” embraces the three points of Brook’s triangle: place, artist, audience. It is a three-way conversation that takes place over time. Berry sees the artist not as “an isolated, preeminent genius who materializes ideas from thin air, but as a person who has been in a community a long time, has been attentive to its voices…and who is prepared to pass on what has been heard. There are two things the artist must do: pass on all this is involved — the art, the memory, the knowledge. And take responsibility for his or her own work — that is the reason the work is signed, and that should be the only reason.” Responsibility, not credit; humility, not self-aggrandizement. Mick Montgomery made this realization, and it made him hang his head. That is the first step. The next step is to raise your head, look around, and start listening to the people around you."
Here is what I glean from this... and I may be way off base... but it's my blog so... here goes.
We're the artists. We're making the theater. If the theater is broken. It's our job to fix it. New models have to be introduced, they have to be born into this world. No government, no Artistic Director, No Donor is going to fix the problem, the hole, we have dug for ourselves. We let this happen. So, I guess we have the ability to take back the control.
I'm not a theater tycoon. I'm not lucky like Jeremy Piven, where I can throw away opportunites to walk along the great white way. I've performed for audiences of thousands and audiences of 2. My theater career has always been more about 'doing the work' and less about the big pay check. (Although, I'm not averse to big paychecks).
However, now that I can see my ability to 'do the work' is in jeopardy, I am thankful that more and more voices like Mike Daisey's, and Dennis Baker, and the folks at "Articles About Everything" are talking about this. I guess we need to stop talking and stop doing or it's just going to get worse.