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Posts Tagged ‘art’

THESPIANS: Turn On The Dark

In 21st Century Culture, FOR YOUR CONSIDERSTION, NEW!, NEWS AND COMMENTARY on April 4, 2011 at 7:48 PM

NEW YORK CITY

April 4, 2011

My appeal begins and remains directed towards theatre practitioners in America. I write in defense of innovation. I write in defense of our patrons and our audience. I write in defense of our predecessors and their achievements. I write in defense of our theaters’ future, of our theatre.

In lieu of Julie Taymor’s latest work, the public outcry from the theatre community, on behalf of the actors and performers, is justified. Unions need to adapt in the changing industry. As do the production companies who are financing and supporting the collective of artists involved. However, what lessons are we really learning from these events? Mistakes occur, yes, but how do we identify and understand the lessons involved?

More than anyone, the theatre community must adapt. That point, sadly, has become evident. We possess an awareness, the capacity to change and evolve in ways most people, including fellow theatre artists, have yet to realize.

The outcry over problems surrounding SPIDERMAN: Turn Off The Dark made sense, but only to a certain point and concerning elements usually kept out of the public’s view. (By this, I mean, how often do you have your tech week open to the press and for the public to watch?) What began as legitimate issues turned into a backlash deliberately fueled by news propaganda and gossip. The critical response went beyond reason. And now, under the full weight of its consequence, what has been achieved?

The resulting events will only negate the efforts and abilities for the visionaries capable of adapting and evolving theatre in the 21st Century.

Failure lies not with Julie Taymor, nor with her production, but with each of us who remain silent. I witnessed the very people who employ a skepticism for theatre critics buy into the critical responses written — often more than twice daily in the New York Times, I must add. People who actually went to SEE the production, and who wrote about it, gave an entirely misleading impression of the experience. I can say this confidently now that I have finally seen the show for myself, this past Friday, April 1st.  (I hope to see it again before it closes mid-April for “renovations,” absent the visionary behind the elements that make the show worth the price of admission.) Furthermore, any one interested in effectively implementing multimedia technology with a theatrical design platform? You owe it to yourself to witness this production. Sadly, there are less than 16 performances left.

Yes, I appeal to the theatre community to share accountability for denying Taymor’s production the chance to be realized when it is so close. No one spoke to the reality of the logistical elements necessary for its creation. I ask this question genuinely: Why?

Can we not have consideration for the logical problems it faced? My Goodness, any person who has staged a show, on Broadway or in a community center, at least has an understanding for the way unexpected problems arise. Knowing how the technical elements demanded the complete renovation of the Foxwoods Theater, I cannot fathom the extent of scrutiny over its development issues. Are we not well aware of how many Broadway houses lack the structural and engineering capacity to support a lot of modern technical  designs? Let alone, the unprecedented and awesome concepts apropos of the team of designers working with Taymor for this  production? It had to be built IN-HOUSE. Developing it elsewhere and then, once it had worked thru all the kinks, importing its staging to Broadway was an impassable obstacle. It boggles my mind to think that we expected this show to be farmed and harvested for Broadway the same way GUYS AND DOLLS or BOOK OF MORMON has been.

Have we allowed ourselves to become so blinded by convention and by antiquated traditions that everything making this show a valuable contribution to the theatrical arts has been ignored? Or are we forgetting what got us here in the first place? André Antoine and Alfred Jarry, Adolphe Appia and Gordon Craig, F.T. Marinetti and the Futurists, Tristan Tzara and the DaDaists; Erwin Piscator, Antonin Artaud, Vsevolod Meyerhold, Frederico García Lorca; and the women like Velska Gert, Vesta Tilly, Loïe Fuller, Isadora Duncan, Gertrude Stein; and from them, we have the precedents for Bertolt Brecht, Jerzy Grotowski, Peter  Brook, Samuel Beckett, Pina Bauche, Judith Malina, Merce Cunningham, Peter Schuman, Richard Foreman, Bob Fosse… These are only a few of the names offering a brief glimpse reminding us of what the Editors and Writers for The New York Times either ignorantly or maliciously forget to acknowledge. They do not have to concern themselves about such chicanery because THEY are The New York Times.

Who dares to question them? Who dares to speak up when the Emperor has no clothes?

Strange how meanwhile, The NYT articles will eagerly invoke the names of Chekhov, Ibsen, Shaw, Miller, Williams, etc… We would have none of their preferred, and often referenced, geniuses had it not been for effort and risk.

No one expects our general audience to be well versed in the rich history and precedents from late 19th and 20th century’s theatrical theory and practice. Many, however, possess a solid understanding and wealth of knowledge. Theatre artists know the danger of underestimating their audiences’ intelligence. The news media and press, on the contrary, risk nothing by presuming otherwise and no one holds them accountable. Denying their readers of the relevant information about SPIDERMAN: Turn Off The Dark, and instead, offering selective bits in order to substantiate their critical opinions, to the New York Times, I shout, “CALUMNY!”

Yes, I hold The New York Times accountable for engaging in a pernicious campaign to achieve a biased editorial objective. This has remained evident in the coverage and criticisms of Op/Ed articles published in the print newspaper and online blogs. Furthermore, the cumulative coverage apropos of Taymor and Spiderman, reveals how they dared to presume an ignorance of the readers and theaters’ audience, and did consciously manipulate those who trusted in this  “journalism.”

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Sunday, 3:43 AM

In Daily Musings, Excerpts of Prose, poetry on February 27, 2011 at 4:03 AM
SEE THE FLASHVERSE
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Ring-Around-A-Rosie, Lay Me Down To Sleep

In Daily Musings, FOR YOUR CONSIDERSTION, HAUNTED, poetry on February 16, 2011 at 10:02 PM

#FLASHVERSE 02:26

Ring a-round a-rosie

Pocket full of posies

Ashes

Ashes

We all

fall

DOWN

Now I lay me down to sleep

I pray the Lord my soul to keep

If I should die before I wake

I pray the Lord my soul to take

God Bless Mommy, and Daddy, Grama and Grampa….

There was a turtle by the name of Bert

Bert the turtle was very alert;
When danger threatened, he never got hurt
He knew just what to do…

He’d duck!

[gasp]

And cover!

Duck!

[gasp]

AND COVER!

He did what we all must learn to do

You

And You

And You

A N D   Y O U !

[bang, gasp]

Duck, and cover!


Here we go round the prickly pear
Prickly pear prickly pear
Here we go round the prickly pear
At five o’clock in the morning.

This is the way the world ends

This is the way the world ends

This is the way the world ends

Not with a bang but a…

~

~

So is the equal poise of this fell war.

Compilation by Kimberly Cox, © 2011

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21st Century Stories and Art, Part One

In Uncategorized on February 19, 2010 at 9:44 PM

So I’m fascinated with all this new technology. We all wonder how it’s changing our society. I’m here to talk about how it’s not, as opposed to talking about how it does. It’s too soon for us to know. And in the meantime, it’s important to not forget about what has kept us, US, for hundreds of years.

I’m talking about art and story telling: theatre, comics, music, pictures, design. While society changes, these things change in tandem. We learn from history that each of these artistic practices reflect the time in which they are created and the zeitgeist of an era.

Let’s not walk in circles. Today, we have comic books, theatrical productions, movies, books, the internet, radio (an ever changing medium and solid despite what some may think.)

But do they reflect who we are as a society? This is the question I want to get you thinking about and talking about. In many ways, the art that I see being created does, but a lot of the Mass Media or Mainstream Media (MSM) doesn’t resemble the art I am talking about. I’m talking about the difference between Ashton Kutcher and Paul Pope. The difference between Chris Nolan and Frank Miller. The difference between American Idol and 24 or Fringe. Dan Brown or Victor Davis Hanson?

I’m not good when it comes to analyzing visual art so I will leave that to someone who is more of an expert than I, BUT I do have a solid sense of theatrical theory and practice. What does that mean? I’ve studied the history of performing arts. Of storytelling. So it gives me a solid standing in that arena.

We don’t seem to be thinking about history in the MSM. That does not mean that we have forgotten about it. I think the MSM just thinks they don’t owe history anything. Like Zeus when he first became a god, the MSM is boistrously arrogant and enjoying it’s current reign over the older gods of theatre and pictures. Here I am, playing Aeschylus’s Prometheus when he tells the Ocean that Zeus would one day be sorry for it.

The art I see be created and the storytelling I see happening again, is very different from what I see in the MSM. So I ask you to think about history. In the theatre, the 20th century saw innovation beyond Aristotle’s wildest dreams. We also saw this happen in radio and cinema. Is the quality today better than it was then? In the MSM, it is not, but if you know where to look, you see that respect for history in places from time to time.

In the early twentieth century, theatre began to break from the traditional Aristotelean approach to story telling. You had the Da-Da movement in the 1920s that pushed the Theater of the Absurd into being. Then you had Bertholt Brecht in the 1940s and 1950s breaking the fourth wall and pushing for a narrative being told differently to an audience. This does not mean that the Aristotelean Tradition was forgotten in any way. The schism in approach reflects the period of history and social change we were going through.

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