September 12, 2008

Theater blogosphere community (or lack thereof)

Devilvet posted something that touched a nerve today.
We all have agendas here. These agendas are multifaceted and leveled. Sometimes our various pet causes and issues run parallel and sometimes they don't. But each and every one us while we are committed to our ideas must also realize that some days, when it comes to the things that we decided to take on, we have to carry our own water. Well can passionately cry out or shout out for someone to speak to us on that which we care about, but we must also be wary of biting at those with whom we wish to commune.

I have been scolded in the past often for my 'glass is half empty' take on the assumptions/perceptions/ and to my mind misuses of the word community. But, if the theatrosphere is to become and remain a community, we have to find ways to challenge and cajole each other that show some sort of appreciation for that end. If the tone of our debates, etc reaches a pitch where it seems like we are rather exiling certain folks from the community of the theatrosphere because of a distaste or impatience with their approach or their path... well then what to we get? A bunch of angry individuals instead of a system of support or community.

I am not saying we must play nice. Hell, anyone who looks through my talks with Don Hall or Scott Walters will know, I aint interested in tea time talk. But, at the same time, let us encourage more than we scold. Let us not lose our sense of humor, and let us aim more often toward fraternity rather than condemnation.

We must always strive to be supportive as often as possible. And where we disagree we have a duty to expound on it, without attempting to digitally exorcise that which we find distasteful at the expense of our community.

The direction of inquiry this week I fear leads to a place where people share less, skulk and bray self admiration at the expense of others more, and we all lose.

Perhaps a page has turned in the system of blogs I think of as our theatrosphere. I hope not. It was a source of great joy, provocation, and community for me.

Hey, you know, if I'm using that ....gulp word... something must be changing.

lets make a push to talk to each other more often. Let us share more!!! Share more people!!!

Ask for more if you want more!!
I'm not exactly sure what Devilvet means by support here, but if it simply means engaging with people who may not always be in our "clique," then I think he's absolutely right.

And here's me asking for more:

Just reciprocate.

I generally don't talk to hear myself talk or to sound clever. I really want to connect with the person I'm speaking to. It takes a lot of energy for me to be around people. I only say something when I feel compelled to speak, even if it's just a one-liner or a joke that I just had to share because I wanted to give you something funny.

I know that what I say isn't as cool or smart or interesting as what you're doing, but is it too much to ask that if I comment on your blog, you at least make a token attempt to do likewise on mine? Here are some examples:
  • Hi.
  • Cool.
  • Interesting.
  • This is dumb.
  • Fuck you.
Now, if you have a bit more time than that, I always appreciate open-ended questions. Really. I have a tendency to keep stuff in, and I occasionally need to be drawn out to express more (The irony of a writer not alwys knowing what to say is not lost on me).

That's what support is like for me.

What about you? What do you want more of?


  1. Hi. This is dumb.

    What do I want more of? Money, for one thing. Time to do what I want to do, when I want to do it. Cheez-its. Sex would be great to have more of.

    Cool. Interesting.

    Fuck you.


  2. Oh, yeah. I forgot money. Or pathways that lead to money. Not a lot, just a little. Enough to live on, pay debts, and set some aside.

  3. Support doesnt have to be synonymus with feedback which seems to be often something you specifically ask for.

    I just think that when one of us starts shooting birds and blowing raspberries across the internet out of a desire to solely provocate others into something, we only serve to make this already small community even more divisive.

    Lately, every time voices get raised it seems like the parties involved have a definate desire to seperate the wheat from the chafe of the theatrosphere. Telling folks to turn of their blogs is crossing a line. But, it seems like any time any of us clear our throats online it is only a very short time before someone stops by and tells us to shut up. So, dont listen to the folks who tell us to shut up. Just keep doing... but I want to wish out loud across the internets for more talk about theatre...not less of anything... just more about what we do as theatre artists.

  4. seems like any time any of us clear our throats online it is only a very short time before someone stops by and tells us to shut up. So, dont listen to the folks who tell us to shut up. Just keep doing... but I want to wish out loud across the internets for more talk about theatre...not less of anything... just more about what we do as theatre artists.

    I feel you there. I'd like to talk more about art and process too. It's sort of weird, since I hit on a great way to do "etudes" for this play I'm writing from a more-or-less unlikely source.

  5. I'd like to talk more about art and process, too. In fact, that's what I'm asking for. And that means making an effort to take the next step beyond the immediate stimulus to look for the import, the pattern, the observation, the heartfelt emotional link, the focal point. It's more than floating topics and links, but actually trying to touch someone else with an idea, a feeling, and observation. I'm complaining about the linkology I see so much of, in which the blogger reveals nothing about themselves except their ability to refer us to other people and ask us what we think.

  6. More money, more colleagues outside the NYLACHI area, more time. More time. More time.

    I have one of those open-ended questions for you, my friend... perhaps a writing prompt, if you will. As someone who jumped herself into the theatrosphere about the same time I did: Why? A)What did/do you want out of blogging? and B)What did/do you want out of joining up your blog with the rest of this rambunctious "community"?

  7. Hey bard, I just wanted to send you some love from Shanghai, knowing that I rarely comment on your weblo, or any other. I'm really happy to see how much interaction there is here, and how much support there is (despite there still being room for much more, obviously). I just started this year's theatre workshop at my school, and the organizers seem shocked that I'm willing to take 19 (no one else has more than 12...) I'm preparing some cool stuff!

  8. danio said this post might interest me, and it does, very much.

    I'm planning to practice and promote reading people's blogs, thoughtfully and sympathetically, with these

    questions in mind:

    - What can I learn from this?

    - How can I serve this person's interests?

    - What people and resources do I know about, on line and off line, that might interest her?

  9. Jim,

    Welcome to the blog.

    I want to share some observations about your comment that cast your intent in a confusing light.

    Especially considering your post about purity of heart being the will to do one thing, my response will (hopefully) show a different perspective on that.

    When you ask, "What can I learn from this?", I wonder, "How would you know what there is to learn? Are you coming at it completely open and receptive, or are you filtering it through conscious or subconscious biases?"

    When you ask, "How can I serve this person's interests?", I wonder, "What does he mean by service? Does he mean doing people a favor by acknowledging they exist? Does he mean being friendly and nice because it's 'the right thing to do'? How does he see the recipient of this service - as an equal, a charity case, a resource? How is he framing that idea?"

    My ambivalence toward things like that come from a variety of factors, but the main one is this: The danger of rendering individual persons into an abstraction called humanity. So you can run into the problem of serving mankind without seeing people.

    It's sort of like trying to describe water without understanding wet.

    So, bringing it back to the original question: when you say you seek to serve someone, who are you serving - that person's truest, innermost self or a generic human being?

  10. Thank you for the welcome, and for the questions.

    Here's a poem I made up for the Just Poetry Slam, to express some of my feelings about learning from other people:


    Imagine a wealth of artistic deposits

    Imagine us all coming out of our closets!

    What fun we could have if we all started making

    Our own kind of music for giving and taking!

    What's hiding inside you, my sister? My brother?

    Imagine what we could all learn from each other!

    Imagine . . . please do

    I'm counting on you


    By serving a person's interests, I mean learning about what she's trying to do, and what I might do to help.

  11. Ah. That makes more sense.