Actor, Puppeteer, and Teaching Artist

You are not wood, you are not stones.

One of the evergreen topics on the rotating menu that theatre blogs cycle through is the “fight” between professional theatremakers and community theatre makers. This is of course a radical narrative distillation of a more nuanced relationship. This week the piece making the rounds is from the venerable theatre omnibus OnStage Blog. The article, by Timothy Fitzgerald, is a perfectly cromulent defense of community theatre as an important foundational piece, particularly of the American branch of stage performance and of the communities they exist in in general. The flaw in the article is the premise. When I was writing regularly about theatre firebrands firebranding all over the place, a frequent refrain of mine was “check your listings”. It was argued time and again that certain communities were only programing Old Chestnut 4 and Boring Musical 7 – which mostly was untrue. Mostly communities program Reliable Favorites about %70 of the

Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounc’d it to you

Live performance is a system of interlocking skills honed individually and together over time like any other muscle-building, and then deployed all at once. It is almost always desired that the edges of that displayed set of skills are folded under and invisible to the uninitiated, and, on the highest level, even to fellow initiates. So as one progresses, craft becomes more and more opaque. The skilled stop understanding how and why they do it and the very best seem to require no effort at all. One of those skills is line memorization. It is the favorite party trick of audiences at talk backs the world over and the bane of new performers taking on walls of text for the first time. It is also a performance muscle that isn’t really worked in tandem with other real world skills, so time away from performance really can decondition that system. And

Plan Rocker Show Stopper

Theatre producers seem to live in a permanent terror about the pending Ragnarok. It may be that most of the theatre makers I know don’t have even 60 days cash on hand never mind a liquid operating fund, but it seems that they are always looking to paint innovation onto whatever mission they already have. That they’re seeking to continue doing theatre that they enjoy making while shoehorning in whatever the kids like these days. Since the Gossip Girl-ification of Sleep No More immersive has become as hot as a theatrical fad can be, with even pretty tepidly dramaturged lobbies trying to claim ‘immersiveness’. I’ve heard calls since I began blogging in 2006 to increase audience ownership of the performance and performance space. Bromides about relaxing rules, expectations and essentially eliminating the silent sanctuary in theatre that emerged with the naturalism of the last century. This all gets phrased as though theatre makers

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