“Snowstorm” blows me away

This may feel like a long road to a small house… so grab a snack.

It can easily be said that I am not a fan of Realism… or as it is sometimes called in the theatre, Modernism. I mean, I think it’s fine; it has its purpose. It’s a period we should study.  It’s a technique we should know. It’s just more suited to certain art forms over others. For instance it suits photography much more than painting. And in the theatre, we actually have a pejorative term for theatre that is not realistic; we call it… “theatrical”.  Odd, I know.

A little history (for those who don’t know): Shakespeare wrote that the purpose of theatre was to “hold a mirror up to nature.” On that day, theatre began what I often call the slow death-march towards Realism. As people distanced themselves from the concept of God as the reason for everything and began to discover more about the minutia of the scientific complexities that surround us, theatre began to reflect this trend as well. Theatre became psychology’s playground and Realism was its vehicle. As Freud, Jung, and Skinner were dissecting why we do things, the same question was being asked on the stages in Russia and France. In this context, Realism is an amazing step forward in the art of theatre, and even I recognize this.

However, what is interesting about theatre is that concurrent with the development of Realism (Modernism) was Post-Modernism. The Moscow Art Theatre housed two different directors who saw theatre in two different ways, and their names were Constantine Stanislavski and Vsevolod Meyerhold. Stanislavski went on to become a relative household name for his contribution of the (often-distorted) acting technique he called The System which was then interpreted (perhaps erroneously) into Lee Strasburg’s famous (perhaps infamous) Method. Meyerhold, on the other hand, suffers from a relative anonymity that barely excludes lovers of postmodern art.

Meyerhold addressed theatre as a physical medium (as opposed to psychological) often using dance and gymnastics to help tell his stories. His work in Biomechanics is revered by any lover of physical theatre. His was a world of “theatricality.” He stood firmly in direct opposition to the concepts and theories purported by Stanislavski and the like and we often credit his work with the birth of post-modernism in the theatre.

So from the word go, there has been a school of thought that believed that Realism would ultimately lead to the downfall of theatre. The basic reasoning behind this idea: theatre is not real. In fact, it is highly unreal. When we walk into a theatre we are asked to actively suspend our disbelief. This means that the audience must use their imagination. Realism is about getting all of the smallest details correct: the dust on the shelves, the patina on the silver, the thought in the moment. Those details are then given to the audience… and the audience no longer needs to activate their imagination. This works amazingly well in film, but almost contradicts the very structures of theatre (similar to photography and painting). On the contrary, Post-modernism allows for moments of interpretation where you as an audience member are left to fill in the blanks with your own ideas. In essence, it’s why the book is always better than the movie.  With a book, you get to fill in the blanks, and in doing so you take a level of ownership of the story that is being told.

Nonetheless, Realism is what the majority of today’s audiences want, and so it is what we, the practitioners, often give, it is what most playwrights are writing, and it is what most schools teach as the major part of their curriculum. As an actor and director who absolutely loves the worlds of dance, physical theatre, and movement and who believes that the best theatre is ultimately the combination of all of the arts into one, this can be a hard pill to swallow. In my opinion, great works theatre give us a little of both. I love when I see a show with amazingly realistic moments coupled with moments of meditative interpretation, music, dance, etc. I also love to see people do things that I cannot do; it makes me want to learn how to do those things.

Which finally brings me to Snowstorm. It is easily my favorite piece of theatre I have seen in Portland since Hand2Mouth’s My Mind is like and Open Meadow. Like My Mind…, Snowstorm is a beautiful fusion of multiple art forms into one performance. This is all I ask of theatre.

I know very little about the inception of this project so I cannot speak to its exact origins. What I do know is Jessica Wallenfels is at the helm. I have been in Portland for a while and Jessica and I have met, but I had yet to see one of her works. I had heard of them, but never taken in one first hand because she is oftentimes working out-of-town. So, this blog is in some ways breaking one of my rules: Don’t comment on a person’s work until you’ve seen three things they have created.

But…

This is what I have been yearning for, calling for, begging for out of Portland’s theatre scene. Snowstorm combines virtuosic musicianship with virtuosic directing leading high-level actors through a story of words, music and movement. To the credit of this cast of who’s-who-in-PDX-theatre, every character is clearly defined with moments of delicious realism. However, this show’s success lies in its theatricality and the fact that this story could only be told by combining this group of talents in the same room for an extended period of time… And that is beautiful theatre.

And… it is very Russian.

I went to the invited dress rehearsal so I was not privy to director’s notes or a cast list. I am only speaking about what I saw on stage. There were moments of heart-wrenching pain and moments of gut-clutching laughter. Jamie M. Rea puts on a clinic as the lead and is complimented by a dashing Chris Harder who delivers one of the piece’s most stirring moments of physicality. However once again, Matthew Kerrigan steals the show. His movement and acting techniques are top-notch, but it is his comic ability that sets him apart in this show. He supplies us with the much-needed moments of comedy.

The entire piece is beautifully accompanied by a pianist, Eric Nordin. The story comes through and from him and his piano. Though the story bears little, if any, real likeness to the Pushkin short story, it creates a world that is believable as Russian; the struggles, the pain, the father/son relationship, the loss of love, and the metaphor of the impending storm are all accompanied by a robust score of Rachmaninoff.

And the aesthetics are some of the best I’ve seen on the (smaller) Portland stage. The set, lights, costumes and props are all excellently designed and executed.  But Tony Fuemmler’s MASKS… simple and beautiful.

Some might look at this piece as high-brow, esoteric, experimental. Good. It is. And we need more of it. Theatre has an amazing power to entertain, but it has an even greater power to stimulate emotion and educate, and this piece runs the gamut. The movement is largely pedestrian with moments of inspired contemporary choreography. At times the choreography may out-matched the performer, but these moments are rare and in the end, I don’t really care if everybody is an amazing dancer as long as I am being moved by their work. And this piece definitely moved me.

So, thank you Jessica. Thank you to your amazing cast and crew. Thank you for stepping away from the paradigms and creating inspired, vital theatre. Go see this show. Support Jessica Wallenfels working in our town. We need her and what she brings.

It’s “thither”… like “there.”

Ok.  This will be short.  I promise.

This is in response to seeing and being involved in years of Shakespeare productions… It’s not in reference to any one production or company in specific.  I’ve brought it up numerous times with other actors and directors, and often I get some response like, “Does it really matter?”

The word is “thither.”  It is pronounced with a voiced “th” (there, brother) in both instances in the word. It is not pronounced with an unvoiced “th” (with, theatre).

I don’t harp on this because I am part of the word-police. I harp on it because it is a story telling devise. Today’s audiences rarely hear the word “thither” and use it even less often.  By phonetically connecting the word with a word they know (there) we do a better job of telling the story to our audience.

That, and it’s simply the correct way to pronounce it.

I often see people making up their own rules with Shakespeare, which can admittedly be fun… if you know the rules you are breaking.  Why should you care?  Because when you care about these things, it places you in the pantheon of people who care about the history of our language and the greatness of its most successful poet and the prowess he used when manipulating the sounds of the English language.  We are the people most likely to see your show, and when we hear these words pronounced correctly, it is pleasing… even exciting.  And we are in the business of words, after all.

Need a citation? http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/200910

Oh, and if you need to know how to pronounce “importune”… scan.  It can be pronounced two different ways, and  in Shakespeare, it’s rarely pronounced the way you probably think it is.

Ok, that is all.

Keep what Weird?

maxresdefaultI see it everywhere: bumper stickers, billboards, guitar cases.  KEEP PORTLAND WEIRD.

It was one of the reasons I moved here nearly 8 years ago.  This awesome city has a distinct reputation across the country as being slightly left of left, a little off, weird… as they say.  And for the most part I think this city really stands up to the billing.  Where else can you see a bag-piping Darth Vader on a unicycle…daily?

We have Voodoo Donuts (don’t get me started), full-frontal strip clubs (both male and female), and our public officials probably have tattoos.  Our hipsters are the children and grandchildren of the hippies who thought we should care for our Earth long before Al Gore made a movie about it.  We have nude…ahem… clothing optional beaches on both sides of the city, and somewhere, somehow, there is a city ordinance that allows public nudity (to some nebulous degree). Oh… and Beards. I could go on… but this list is not really my point.

(Well, get to the point then…)

I’m sorry. It’s not easy. It’s a personal observation and it probably won’t land well… but I think it’s an important topic to address as we as a theatre community attempt to become a more viable option for American Theatre.

Portland theatre is not weird. (There. I said it.)

Of course, in the plethora of small theatre companies that populate Portland, there are a few exceptions to the rule:  Hand2Mouth, PETE, Action Adventure, OPS Fest… just to name a few, but even these companies, though successful in their own right, are not among the most supported companies in town.

Now, I’m no fool (citation needed).  I know that every company needs to think about the bottom line, and we all have to be selective about how we challenge our audiences.  But I miss those nights of going to the theatre and seeing something utterly new.  For someone who has seen a lot of theatre, it is what’s new to me that excites me. But who is our SITI Company, Wooster Group (ducks), or La Mama?  Furthermore, who is our Theatre for the New City and PS 122? 

Who are the Portland-based companies and producers who promote theatre that is slightly bent or paradigm shifting? Have we created a situation where the larger companies are leaving it up to the few granting organizations and a few generous patrons (whom I will take a moment to thank for doing the “good work”) to keep our avant-garde theatre scene alive?  Artists Rep and PCS have their specific missions and they are viable and necessary. But far too often I see theatre that is aiming towards their work from the remainder of our upper echelon theatre companies. And more and more, the theatre is all starting to look the same. It’s becoming homogenous. Or maybe it always has been. 

It starts with one of the “smaller” professional companies.  Who is going to step away and offer multiple plays that are not musicals and/or part of the contemporary realism canon… let alone an entire season? Not to single anybody out, but simply to offer examples: What if Third Rail or Portland Playhouse coupled with SITI Company resident artists for a season to create a series of new works? What would happen if Profile chose Sarah Kane or Charles Mee as their author of the season?  And what if some of the companies in town who have been creating weird theatre for years were produced by one of the major theatre companies in town?  Maybe this is happening, and I just don’t know about it.  Maybe this is what TBA is supposed to be, and I should just take what I can get. Maybe this is what Jerry Tischleder’s recent TCG Grant is all about. Maybe I’m just jumping the gun. I hope so. 

I am continuously impressed with the level of theatre that this city produces.  There is a LOT of good theatre out there, and in fact, every single one of the companies I mentioned above creates vibrant, legitimate theatre. I’ll admit that it sometimes even verges on weird… and that is good.  But, it’s not about whether it is good or not.  And that bears repeating.  It’s not about whether it is good or not.  It is about what could make our theatre community more complete and thus open our art to a wider audience… an audience which, in this specific case, defines itself as “weird.”

But maybe this is the ultimate problem.  Those people who make this city weird — the young hipsters, the tatted micro-brew drinking crowd, the people whose bikes rise above traffic — are they coming to the theatre?  Not in the numbers that we’d hope. And certainly not in the numbers of the generations before them. So then I begin to wonder if we are a theatre community packed with talent and creativity who is sitting on one of the next great movements of the American theatre, but we are too busy creating theatre for the only people who will sit through it.

And maybe this isn’t a problem exclusive to Portland.

And then I cry a single tear into my organic-vegan-gluten and GMO-free green tea as I watch the sunset reflect its pinks and purples and oranges across the face of Mt Hood… and I hear the faint whisper of Scottish bagpipes in the distance.

Summer Shakespeare: To be; or TOO MUCH?

Let’s put this out there right away… I am a lover of Shakespeare.  This should be no surprise.  I’ve studied his plays for the better part of my life. I am adorned with numerous tattoos in his honor. As I have mentioned in past blogs, the First Folio is a sort of bible in my life. So admittedly, I’m first soprano in the choir that pushes Shakespeare on the masses. 

However, with the enormous amount of Shakespeare that happens in our small city during the beautiful summer months, I tend to wonder if we are doing the Bard a service or if we are diluting his genius. Over the past summer we have been able to see: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (multiple companies), Macbeth (multiple companies), Much Ado About Nothing, Taming of the Shrew, Anthony and Cleopatra, Love’s Labors Lost (multiple companies), Romeo and Juliet, Twelfth Night, Hamlet, Henry IV 1, The Tempest, As You Like It (multiple companies) and maybe more.    

We also have The Complete Works Festival going on over the next two years in which the committee has planned to perform the ENTIRE cannon of Shakespeare to honor the 450th and 400th anniversary of his birth and death, respectively. For someone like me, this is true “Bard-on” material, but for someone like… say… my partner, it means sitting through a bunch of mediocre Shakespeare in order to be captivated by one or two moments.  So… who’s right?

He has no real investment in Shakespeare no matter how much he supports the thing I love.  He doesn’t learn something from any and all productions like I do (yes, even the bad ones).  He goes to shows with the same expectation as most people: he hopes to be either educated, stimulated or entertained.  And let’s be honest, some of the productions he has had to sit through simply are none of the above.  But he is the audience we hope to gain; someone like me is already hooked.

I’m firmly on the fence on this one.  As a practitioner of theatre, I LOVE the amount of work that it generates for actors, directors, designers, and managers.  As a scholar, I love to see some of the greatest works of theatre performed summer in and summer out.  But as an audience member… I just can’t do it, and frankly, in many cases, I don’t want to… and remember, I’m the converted.  I can’t get out to see everything and still really enjoy my “Portland summer” as well.  So are we dividing our audiences’ time as well.  Are they having to choose one of us over another, and is there really enough of an audience base in this city to make this a good business practice for anyone?

What about the talent? By putting on so many productions we are limiting the availability of the talent in this town and thus limiting the professionalism of our own productions.  I see this as a big problem that is really hard to talk about because it dances around the idea of talking about who is talented and who is not. But it is a valid discussion as the level of professionalism tends to be a high indicator of success… or vice versa. And in a day and age where getting a printed review is the most challenging part of putting on a production, are we also not creating an environment that makes it impossible to review everything and more likely to review nothing?

Do we, instead, do a service to ourselves, our companies, and the thing we love by communicating amongst theatre companies and not overlapping titles with other companies within a season in order not to saturate the community?  If so, how does something like The Original Practice Shakespeare Festival fit into that scheme when their entire mission is to get to the point of performing all 37 plays in one year?  And who get’s first choice?  Do we go with some of the high-roller companies since they are likely to put on the more lavish and (by contemporary standards) more entertaining shows?  Or do we invest in the smaller companies who make their entire bread and butter in summer Shakespeare? Or do we develop a system of honoring both? OR… do we maintain the status quo and enjoy the fact that we have some of the most prolific summer Shakespeare in the country?

I have no solid answers.  I’m just figuring out the questions.

I think we can safely file this under “First World Problems.”

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Kickin’ the Dickens outta Christmas?

From time to time I will write a critique of a show I see especially if it incites theoretical analysis.  It is not a review.  I am not a reviewer.  I am, however, very much a critic.

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As a member of the theatre community, we are surrounded by repetition.  Rehearsals, performances, the scripts themselves become repetitive the older I get.  As I have stated before, I am a lover of the philosophies of Peter Brook.  Repetition, though certainly not all bad, can lead to Deadly Theatre especially when it takes the form of productions that are trying to repeat other productions’ successes.  We often see this in the numerous Broadway tours that come through every major metropolitan area in the country which attempt to create the same show that ran on Broadway but fail miserably.  My first experience with this was a tour of Cats I saw in Lansing, MI.  As a kid from a town that didn’t even have a high school theatre program of any kind for much of my tenure, I thought it was “pretty cool.”  However, soon after, I saw the show in London in the theatre that was built for the show, and the show completely surrounded me and engulfed me.  It was my first perfect theatrical experience, and that night, a show many people write-off as (at best) “children’s theatre” became the one of the most fully engrossing theatrical experiences I have ever had and markedly different from my experience with that tour I saw in Lansing. Unfortunately, these frequently watered-down pieces of Deadly Theatre are what the majority of America is able to see.

That brings me to a dilemma: A Christmas Carol Dilemma 

I understand that people will buy tickets solely based on the title of the show and A Christmas Carol is one of those titles, but I am part of the group of people on this planet who never need to see another version of A Christmas Carol as long as I live.  Let’s just say that the frequency of its repetition has become monotonous.  It’s probably seeded in the George C. Scott movie that they forced us to watch in school as a child.  In the opening credits a carriage carrying a coffin passed on the street and terrified me, so I was pretty much done.  Every since then, admittedly, I have been biased.  But, please, PLEASE stop adapting A Christmas Carol.  Please stop spinning it, modernizing it, making it relevant.  If you are trying it, it has been done.  The show has in so many ways come to define Deadly Theatre, and that is a hard term to define.

Which is why Phillip J. Berns is one of the bravest souls on the planet.  He did everything in his power to try to make me hate what I was watching when I attended his version of A Christmas Carol at the new space at Milepost 5.  He started by doing A Christmas Carol (Bah!), he did it as a one-man show (uhhhh… “Picard” says no), he partially memorized his lines (I’ll get there), he shined a bright, naked lightbulb in my eyes for the whole show (except for 2 absolutely rich moments of darkness and song at the top of each act), and… he drank cheap beer (with all of the amazing beer available, he drinks Hamm’s).  Unfortunately in all my Bah humbuggery, I couldn’t help but absolutely fall in love with this young man and his all too familiar tale (mind you, he is a young man I thought I knew very well.  We’ve shared the stage numerous times.)

!SHOUT OUT! for the new space run by Post5 Theatre at Milepost 5 

When a performer begins their piece by letting us know it is part of the very fabric of his life, I’m bound to be intrigued.

THIS. This show. Moreover this format, is all we want of A Christmas Carol.  I’ve seen all of the smoke ‘n mirrors.  I’ve seen the brilliant actors.  What I really want is exactly what a got, a phenomenal story told by a phenomenal story-teller.  Berns takes it back to the source.  He basically reads the Dicken’s story word for word (ala “Picard”).  Again, this could fall really flat… I mean Elevator-Repair-Service-The-Great-Gatsby FLAT!!!  (*Gasp* Oh no, he did not!), but Berns is so perfectly cast as… well… every character that the very core of the story resonated more clearly this time than in any other production I have ever seen.  Maybe it was because of what he was trying to tell us about in his opening statement about the piece; this show is a part of him, and consequently he inhabits every corner and ever curve very comfortably.

It’s not without its faults, but everything is fixable.  First of all, he should turn off the bright light… or figure out how to use it.  Also, he could develop the physical character to the level that the vocal character has been developed.  And finally, he needs to memorize the lines.  I understand it’s billed as a reading so I should accept it for what it is, but in his opening statement, Berns explained that this is a process that he began last year and he hopes to continue, so my hope is that this is where he is in the memorization process and it’s billing as a reading is more out of necessity.  The only real problem is that when he is memorized he is phenomenal, but those little moments where he needs to go back to his script are then all the more jarring.  The true feat in this piece as an individual work of art separate from simply reading someone else’s work is in having memorized it all.  That, alone, verges on genius.  I’d even be ok with understanding that he at times is “riffing” on the original.  After all, he is a highly gifted storyteller and I’m pretty certain we can trust him.

However, he should never lose the intimacy, that sense of gathering around the fire to hear grandpa tell the same story we hear every year; never lose the honesty of the Rough Theatre  and empty spaces to which it owes its origins; never lose the sense of nostalgia which is the very reason he references for needing to do the show in the first place.  And the live music… yes, never lose the live music and, at-times, Foley-like soundscapes.

This brave young man actually managed to penetrate this old, cold heart by taking me back to what is essential about this ritual we practice at this time of year every year in the theatre, the ritual we call A Christmas Carol.

It all just sounds so familiar…

Bah. Oh, well.  Happy Holidays.

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Oh Holy Theatre, thy stars are brightly shining…

This time of year often makes me wax poetic.  I don’t know if it’s the memories of my amazing parents giving everything they had to make sure their sons got Christmas presents.  Or maybe it’s the memories of spending the night at my beautiful grandmother’s house on New Years Eve, banging pot and pans and ringing the dinner bell at midnight.  Maybe it’s the residue of the memories of another year passing by.  Maybe it’s the smell of pine in the house.  I don’t know why, but I’m a victim of this season as much as anybody.

But I have always claimed I’m the furthest thing from religious, and much of what makes this season special is centered around religion (even if it’s paganism, a religion I share some common ground with).  So what gives?

Over the past few weeks I’ve put some thought into it…

…and I’m gonna blame it all on the theatre.

I am not religious.  I am a thespian.  Some people read a Bible for their social rules and codes.  I read Shakespeare.  I have never done a page-by-page comparison, but I have all the reason in the world to believe that the rules and codes we supposedly take from our “good books” are just as debated and probably more realistically represented in the First Folio than in any other collection of work in Eastern or Western Literature.  This is has been the book I look to.

Harold Bloom tells us that Shakespeare literally invented the human, not in the sense that he built us like a God, but in the sense that he was the first person to categorize us as personalities (or characters) that compose the human condition each illustrated with realistic complexities.  This concept of searching for the truth in our actions (both in uniqueness and similarity) starts a slow march that leads us into the great psychological revolution of the late 1900’s.  Until his time, theatre was largely allegorical: shapes, sizes, silhouettes, archetypes performing tasks demonstrating moral and ethical lessons.  It was a world of early Fausts and Everymans.

But then Shakespeare came along and, as ’twere, held the mirror up to nature.  There is a reason we advise our children, “This above all: to thine own self be true;” we readily dilute  “the course of true love never did run smooth” down to song lyrics like “Love hurts;” and we continuously debate “what is honor?” in some framework we call politics.  We just call it “Life” and move on to the next “tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow.”  But in reality, it is because these people and their stories are the very foundations of who we are.  There is no debate because they are the debate.  These are people we can relate to while still retaining enough distance for their story to be allegorical.  I’m not certain I hold the same reverence for Job or Abraham or… actually, I know I don’t.

One of the biggest gripes I have heard about Shakespeare is that it is hard to “understand” (and then I get some elevated closing like, “given our current social context”).  I only understand this as a defense of ignorance, and by ignorance I don’t mean no book learnin’.   I mean the same ignorance that makes it impossible for some white people to ever understand hip-hop and some black people to ever understand, well… Shakespeare.  Some people build walls to keep out what they don’t understand and what they don’t know.  Some people go out in search of it.  Anyone I know who has taken the time to study the First Folio agrees on one thing: it is unparalleled in depth and scope.  And I bet, someone feels that way about the Bible.  I know I don’t.

But there is more to it than just Shakespeare.  When you do what I do, you can’t care about money; you aren’t allowed to care about failure; people’s opinions shouldn’t matter; you’re supposed to dedicate hours of study towards personal growth. People who do theatre for a living have no life.  We only have our religion… theatre.  (shudder) And we tend to sacrifice everything for it: love, relationships, jobs, careers, family, friends… sleep.  And we do it all in the name of something we call “drive.”

“I hafta do it.  Something in me tells me this is what I’m supposed to do.”

I hear it all the time.  I say it even more often than that.  What is that?  …other than a religion?  I mean we gather on a regular basis, we just call it rehearsal.  We memorize texts, fables, allegories and spread the word through performance complete with fancy costumes, smoke, and special effects… sound familiar?

Peter Brook (hallowed be thy name) breaks theatre down into four corollaries: Holy Theatre, Rough Theatre, Immediate Theatre, and Deadly Theatre.  Without, spending the time discussing the pure and utter genius behind each of these, I’m just gonna say that he goes to great ends to point out the fundamental and integral correlation between theatre and religion.  As the good Mr. Oscar Brockett tells us, much of what we consider to be our origins of theatre are the same as the origins of that decorated pine tree (ritual) and that lil’ baby Jesus (allegory).

So, I’m actually religious… probably verging on zealot.

Ugh.

But, as far as I know, no one has every killed in the name of Shakespeare.

Now I really need to consider my stance on churches as 501 (c)3’s.

PS:  …and that’s why I love the holidays

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If all the world’s a stage, why do I feel like Kelsey Grammer?

Ok, so I’ve finally decided to start my own blog.  This will mainly serve as an outlet for me to discuss the world of theatre, my passion and life’s pursuit.  I plan to post reviews of performances (and readings) I see as well as general critiques of the art itself.  And of course, from time to time I will take us Off-Topic.

(Uuuugggghhhhh… theatre.)

A bit about why I’m starting this blog:

I get it, y’all.  I’ve been attending theatre regularly for over 20 years, and I’ve come to the assertion that THEATRE PISSES ME THE F*@# OFF!  Sometimes I feel like someone who loves to brew beer, but wretches violently at the mere ingestion.  FAR too often I walk out of the theatre completely discouraged by its lack of rudimentary acumen.  Even more often I walk out completely unsatisfied by the lack of any real passion behind what we all agree is supposed to be a piece of art.  This is not to take anything away from the painful and arduous commitment that is necessary to put up a piece of theatre.  I know, as well as any, that theatre is a mistress that takes all you can give.

But, as they say on ESPN, “C’mon, man!”   We all choose to be this “slave” (as Shakespeare might term our relationship to our muse.)

We live in a society that is not without theatre.  We have plenty of it in all of its various forms: drama, dance, music, church, politics, etc (the list goes on when you’re a pluralist like me.)  Some of it is HUGELY successful, but the most readily identified form of theatre, Drama, has certainly seen better days in its long history.  I hope to, over the following posts, debate my many personal theories about theatre and its place in our lives and get to the core of why contemporary drama struggles as it does.

For those who know me, I have plenty of opinions.  It’s time to be brave and test them in this contemporary format.

Oh… and I also plan to include plenty of what I see that is beautiful in this amazing journey I am on.