May 12, 2011

"I just . . . do things!"

Over at the Greener Room, I talk about paperless marketing for Tulpa, or Anne&Me. Although the word count limit didn't let me get into much detail, I think it's worth starting a discussion about asking questions about why we just . . . do some things.

This ties in neatly with the discussion happening at #2amt, we're talking about empowering people to bring innovative ideas and approaches to doing things. Of course, many of us may see the irony in that, since as theatre artists so much of what we do is about pushing artistic boundaries and challenging assumptions about what good theatre is. Nevertheless, when it comes to everything else we do in theatre, we often fall back on habitual ways of doing things - even if those ways simply don't work for us (here I'm imagining Adam Thurman sagely nodding his head and saying, "Exactly.").

Rather than agonizing over ways to convince other theatre artists that a different approach is worth doing, I think it's a lot more interesting and productive to encourage each other to ask questions. Not in a "We must get to the bottom of this!" sort of way but a "What's going on?" sort of way. TCG is doing that with their "What if . . . ?"

But we can also do that on our own and ask our own questions. For example: When we're putting on a show, what are some things we just . . . do? What would happen if we simply didn't . . . do? What would we be doing instead if we didn't or couldn't . . . do?

1 comment:

  1. But the What If? entry about the Black Arts Movement? Is pissing me off with its lack of intersectionality.

    A monolithic Black culture is male-centered, church (or Afrika-spirituality)-cadenced, lesbo-fearing and faggot-killing. And need we discuss the cults of personality that killed those theatres dead -- either by founder or board ego-poisoning?

    Taylor's presumptiveness about the two types of Bad Black Playwrights' work -- "by me, for them, about us, near any place but our community", or "by me, for acceptance, about alienation, near people with more money than God" -- completely ignores the commonalities of these aesthetics: Plays are written for the funders who back them.

    Do white artists struggle under that constraint? Yep. Do they suffer it less than we do? Sure -- and they indulge in the same sins of exoticism and apologia.

    Is our community there to support anything different? Controversial? Not backed by prominent AA civic leaders, so fundraising parties aren't someone else's extended networking opportunities?

    Are the plays written "by us, for us, about us, and near us" any better, when the "for us" is the chitlin' circuit? When the "about us" features , neckwavin', Jesus-cryin' and redemption through a big, black mama?

    I don't want to go back to those days when racial uplift slid so silently into exploitation -- especially when those in the BAM took those roles wearing pimp hats and exaggerated accents to pay the rent, same as any actor does when times get hard. There is no idealized past; why does this gentleman cling to that?

    And as for the Purple Flower? Negro, please. If he were serious, he would have spent one minute finding the cite: