Since we are about a month behind on this column, we’ll just point out what’s most salient — or offensive — or infuriating — or any variation thereof. I’ll be updating this column in waves over the next few days.
At 99 Seats, the anonymous blogger writes about Don Shirley’s take on Kenneth Turan’s inexplicably controversial oral history of Joseph Papp’s Public Theater. Then he asks the theatrosphere to stop ragging on Roundabout (and, by doing so, kisses the ass of Ken Davenport), blubbers about whale metaphors, gets involved in the controversy regarding the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center and then really sticks his neck out:
That sense of mistrust is at the heart of some of my frustration with blogging and theatre in general. It’s hard to avoid, even for me. When Theresa Rebeck writes about the lack of solid structure she sees in young playwrights, the conversation revolves around how it’s really about why her plays aren’t being well-received or something. When Roland Tec(o) accuses the O’Neill of being a rigged game, it’s really about jealousy and sour grapes. When the O’Neill responds, it’s really about covering their ass. When I write about the representation of black playwrights, it’s really just a plea for more attention. Everyone’s motives are questionable and we basically believe the absolute worst of each other. I’d say it’s just out here in the blogosphere, but we all know how it is when we meet in the lobby, at the bar after the show, three blocks away from the theatre. (And that’s even more gossip, isn’t it?) The default is to not take anyone at face value. How do we build communities like that?
We talk about the external pressures that we face, but there are the internal things that we do to ourselves. The vicious cycle of secrecy, gossip and mistrust is one of them. It stunts our work and our communities, in no small part, because it perpetuates the zero-sum game we play. In order for me to win, you have to lose. So I have to hold my cards close to my vest, make sure you don’t know who I’m talking to or dealing with, what opportunities I have coming my way. I can neither confirm nor deny anything. It all stays in the realm of gossip and rumor.
All true, but where was it written that people in the theater are trustworthy? Is this something new? I don’t trust Isaac Butler worth a damn — and yes, I will continue to call him out when and where and how I wish to. Too bad.
At A Poor Player, Tom Loughlin catches a student production of the musical Company and instantly laments it (he sounds sorry-grateful), writes about his catch club, refers to the censorious Scott Walters, gives props to Ian David Moss, explores more on the NEA’s Cultural Workforce Forum, posits the idea of a Theatre 2.0 in a hyper-technological world and then added a Part 2 to his 2.0 musings.
At A Rehearsal Room of One’s Own, Mariah MacCarthy offers major applause for Marsha Norman’s take on the underrepresentation of women playwrights on our stages (still far from mathematically proven) and reflects smartly on a comment about women and guns.
At Adam Szymkowicz’s blog, Adam Szymkowicz adds to his extraordinary series of Q&As with contemporary and emerging American playwrights. These include Tommy Smith, Edith Freni, Larry Kunofsky, Marielle Heller, Carly Mensch, Rajiv Joseph, Lisa D’Amour, Julia Jarcho, Anne Washburn, Tarell Alvin McCraney and Enrique Urueta.
At Adventures in the Endless Pursuit of Entertainment, Sarah B. gives a thumbs-down to Broke-Ology (sorry, I disagree — I think the performances are better than the play), covers the A Little Night Music load-in, covers the Bernadette Peters benefit concert for Broadway Barks and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, celebrates the now-ended National Opera Week, reviews Love, Loss and What I Wore (favorably — I sort of agree), honors the beautiful Broadway revival of Ragtime, heralds the 50th anniversary of Lincoln Center and sort of reviews the first preview of A Little Night Music, lamenting the absence of French horns. The downscaling of Broadway goes on.
At Americans for the Arts’ Artsblog, Ben Burdick questions whether schools stifle creativity, Adam Thurman launches into the whale metaphor that 99 Seats wrote about, Stephanie Evans asks Whose Responsibility is it to Provide Access to Art and Culture?, Liesel Fenner memorializes the death of Christo’s wife, Jeanne-Claude and Robert L. Lynch presents an audio podcast on Marketing the Arts in Challenging Times.
At An Angry White Guy in Chicago, Don Hall laughs heartily at the idea of an unemployed conservative, reviews New Leaf Theatre’s production of The Man Who Was Thursday, adapted from the G.K. Chesterton novel, lists all the many things he’s thankful for and worries, perhaps rightly, about President Obama as a genuine change agent.
At Arts Marketing, Chad M. Bowman, reflecting on the convulsive American economy of the last few years — not to mention the devastating effect of the economic downturn on the arts — poses an excellent question: What if we are just tired? (He uses the pronoun “they,” but the question is the same.)
At The Critical Condition, Mark Blankenship pronounces himself exhausted with the controversy surrounding Adam Lambert, which is fair: the only person not exhausted by the sheer stupidity of it are homophobe Republicans who can’t bring themselves to acknowledge the parents actually have to do some parenting every now and then. He also predicts EW’s Entertainers of the Year; discusses the “strong moral code” of The Amazing Race (isn’t that akin to ascribing monumental importance to a bug?); reviews Pedro Almodovar’s latest film, Broken Embraces; and covers the finale of Project Runway.
At Daily Plays, Kristen Palmer continues reading a play a day. The latest reads: Lanford Wilson’s Redwood Curtain, Sawako Nakayasu’s Icing: A Hockey Wedding Event, Crystal Skillman’s Turn Four, W. David Hancock’s The Convention of Cartography, Marsha Norman’s ‘night, Mother, Fiona Templeton’s Delirium of Interpretations, Mac Wellman’s The Lesser Magoo, Alan Ayckbourn’s Table Manners, Alan Ayckbourn’s Living Together, Alan Ayckbourn’s Round and Round the Garden and John Osbourne’s classic Look Back in Anger.
At Everything I Know I Learned From Musicals, Chris Caggiano reviews A Steady Rain, considers The Sound of Music 50th anniversary CD, offers a season preview of Boston theater, reviews the Broadway revival of Ragtime and, a bit giddily but most understandably, covers the Frank Rich-Stephen Sondheim interview at the Sanders Theatre in Cambridge in two parts.
More From the Blogroll forthcoming…