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Archive for November, 2007

this is not a manifesto

It’s so easy to be angry.  I’ve started numerous posts over the past few weeks, none of which have made it past “draft.”  Why?  Well, I started the Owl as a way to investigate performance through writing, but I’m finding that it’s much easier to write a manifesto than truly investigate.  If this site was called The Ranting Owl, I could probably post six times a day, but even fewer of you would be interested in reading.  In a field rife with gossip and jealousy, it challenging to stay positive.  (I don’t mean “stay positive” in an after-school-special kind of way, but rather in a way that is actually productive, open-minded, and curious.)  So, in the spirit of cultivating wonder for the holidays, here are some things about which I am curious:

1. I noticed in the amazing production of Black Watch by the National Theater of Scotland at St. Ann’s Warehouse, that the Scots say “That’s so magic” the way that we say “That’s so money.”

2. Commedia dell’arte in Italy was the beginning of the professional actor, and I wonder how that contributes to the split between active and passive witnessing by the audience.  Further, I wonder how the introduction of producers in Elizabethan England contributes.

3. I saw a woman on the train this morning telling the story of Cinderella to her son, who sat mesmerized, staring into space, seeing the story in his head.  Is that theater?  I’m curious about the relationship of storytelling and theater.  I think it relates to the active witness conversation as well.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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Wow! IATSE’s Local 1 is on strike! After 0ver 100 years of running the shows on Broadway, the union has been driven to the street for the first time because of a breakdown in negotiations with the League of American Theatres and Producers. I happened to catch IATSE’s press conference on NY1, and I was extremely impressed with the statements of Local 1, as well as those of the Musicians’ Union and Actors’ Equity who are standing in solidarity with IATSE.

Normally, I feel fairly disconnected from the world of commercial theater, but listening to the people who work the shows speak of their great pride in this form and its history, imploring those who control the ever-more-astronomical ticket prices to give them the support they need was amazing.  For the first time in a very long time, I felt inspired by the Broadway theater.

I hope that the stagehands and the producers can come to an agreement so that everyone can go back to work, keep all the tourists from crying and make sure the waiters at Sardi’s get the tips they deserve, but most of all, I hope others, both ON Broadway and OFF will be re-invigorated by what really makes theater exciting – the work itself and the workers and audiences who are passionate about it, not the marketing tie-ins and profit margins.

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Shout out.

Chase Granoff, co-curator of Live Sh– at the Chocolate Factory Theater has started a fascinating conversation about PERFORMA on his blog, and lots of interesting folks have chimed in.  Check it out.

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