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January 06, 2012


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Scott Walters

Ah, yes -- we can't generalize. Otherwise we'd have to actually do something. But take a look at NEA reports, take a look at the report I wrote about on my Occupy series -- the theatre audience everywhere looks pretty much the same. So there are two options: accept it, or do something to change it. Most tacitly accept it, even while making impassioned statements showing their "heart is in the right place." Tom's post makes that tacit acceptance, that complacency, explicit -- and the howl is heard throughout the theatrosphere. If you think it ought to be different, it will require serious changes in the infrastructure -- changes that might shift money and power away from the large, white, rich urban institutions who support the status quo. But that might undermine one's careerist ambitions that are pointed at working in those large, rich, white, urban institutions.


I just want to make sure I got this right:

What you're claiming here is that Tom's post is a put-on designed to expose complacency within the theater system through provocation? Is that correct?

Scott Walters

No, I'm not claiming that at all. I have no idea what his intentions are -- nor does anyone else, despite all the assumptions. What I'm saying is that he wonders whether it is "OK" to consider theatre an art form for white people, since the seemingly unchanging stats and personal experience seem to imply it. He has the courage to look that idea in the face. He doesn't endorse it, he is clearly concerned about it, but he asks himself and his readers to consider it.

But what I am asking is: if you reject the status quo, what are you doing to change it? It isn't ENOUGH to simply condemn the situation and proclaim all the other socio-political reasons why it is so -- people have to walk their talk. And I don't see much of that. I see a lot of armchair activists who, when it comes to their own career and when it comes to taking action about the infrastructure that supports the status quo, have nothing to offer.


And I don't see much of that.

That's because you haven't been paying attention. Not to mention, us "armchair activists" have lives and work that we don't loudly trumpet so that you can approve of what we're doing.

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