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September 17, 2008

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Aaron

I think you have to consider the changing mediums, too. There was a time when theater was a means of relating oral history, and it was heavily repetitive for the sake of memory; when writing took that over, it slowly transformed into a form of cheap entertainment for the masses and as a means of something social to do; when film, then TV, and inevitably the Internet took that over, theater failed to re-establish itself, and that is where it has lost the majority of its audience (the same goes for reading). I don't think theater can exist as pure escapism: it simply isn't as good at distracting us as those other forms. At best, it can awe us with that perfect mesh of body, voice, and text, all operating at a concentrated level--three-ring circus in a can--but it doesn't allow us to relax like we can from the safety of our own couch. I think, then, that theater needs to acknowledge the audience, to use that live connection in a way that other media cannot: if it chooses to do so for laughs, or for catharsis, or whatever, fine, but it is for something more than escapism.

One of the first things I learned when acting was that you can't PLAY an emotion (at least, not if you want to be taken seriously): you have to take things action by action to do so, working on some partner (object, person, or invisible "other") in the process. The same goes for theater that would be escapism: it can't simply "be" escapism: it needs a solid foundational action, and it needs to partner with the audience. That's what does it for me.

Alison Croggon

Alice Walker said "Work is love made visible". If you live in the world and respond to it, if you have values, they will be reflected in your work. For good or ill.

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