Thursday, September 04, 2008

Dennis Baker's blog posts that there is a response from Theresa Eyring in the ongoing sparring over HOW THEATER FAILED AMERICA and her response, HOW THEATER SAVED AMERICA, which I have previously eviscerated here.

Now that she has finally spoken, I do take issue with a number of further errors in Ms. Eyring's published response, as follows:

"In the beginning of his performance, he [Mike Daisey] talks about an artistic director who advised that the title wasn’t quite right. But oops…too late."

First, the scene in question occurs at the end of the performance, not at the beginning. Second the AD in question doesn't simply suggest that the title isn't "quite right"—he feels I should have called the show HOW THEATER BECAME AMERICA instead of HOW THEATER FAILED AMERICA, and I ruefully agree. This is in no way an admission that the title is inaccurate--if anything, it's a *more* damning indictment than the existing title. By distorting when this happens in the show and what is said it makes it appear I don't support my title and my work, which is far from the case, and as I previously proved, the existing title is entirely sound.

"In any event, I was intrigued by the idea that theater could be powerful enough to fail America (as opposed to failing a particular city or group of artists or students or its own values)."

This is weak sauce. If one is talking about the major theaters of America, which were intended to revitalize and represent theater in communities across the country, and we are talking about the FAILURE of those theaters to accomplish their vision, then we're talking about theater failing America. If it makes people feel better to play semantic games by claiming somehow that theaters can fail a city but not a country, or even more nebulously that a theater can fail it's own "values" I have no idea why it couldn't fail the people of its country, who in fact are the country itself. It's a pathetic dodge.

"And it inspired me to choose a similarly hyperbolic title for my coloumn in order to reflect the ways that theater has impacted American life to the positive."

That's nice that it inspired someone, though as I previously demonstrated Ms. Eyring's title (HOW THEATRE SAVED AMERICA) is deeply stupid--you can
reread my statements to see why. I still believe it was a shallow attempt to play off of the work without any thought to what the words actually meant.

"I have also written about-and will continue to write about-the troubles and the failures in our system, such as the Feb. ‘08 (correction it is Jan. ‘08) coloumn on actors’ compensation and underemployment (which recieved exactly zero discussion in the blogosphere). "

Ms. Eyring would received more discussion in the blogosphere if she participated in some way--the fact that she's complaining here indicates that she reads, so if it bothers her that her thoughts have no weight here, I'd encourage her to do better marketing by actually publishing them to the web (this letter had to be typed in by Mr. Baker) and establishing a blog, commenting, conversing, and generally participating.

"My intention with this particular coloumn was not to dismantle Daisey’s entire premise, but rather shine a light on what is often neglected but very vibrant part of our ecosystem."

Since Ms. Eyring had done such a shitty job dismantling ANY of my premise, it's good to know that wasn't her goal.

Maybe next time she can avoid including me at all if she isn't going to address or engage with my ideas in any way--I would appreciate the intellectual honesty.

If she wants to write a nice article about ensemble theaters, go right ahead—just don't use me as your rhetorical stepping stone if you aren't willing to do the work of engaging openly and honestly with my arguments.

4:39 AM