Friday, July 03, 2009

The Fortress of Jason Grote: Thoughts on Mark Kingwell's Concrete Reveries:

I've largely lost interest in the "does-theater-have-a-future" debate. It would be more salient, in my opinion, to ask if theater has a present. But, to the extent that the art form is going to keep developing, it will probably be by following the lead of art-forms that are not generally characterized as theater, per se: popular music, performance art, comedy, neo-Vaudevillians like Tyler Perry, theater as social work, big festival events like Burning Man, and so on. These events, unlike much of what currently gets produced in theaters large and small, often take advantage of the liveness of theater, the fact that it exists in four dimensions, the fact that it is finite and local, executed by live humans for other live humans, with minimal (or at least peripheral) technological mediation. For decades now (or at least since the American Right won this relatively insignificant battle in the culture wars), the institutional wing of the art form has been mired in the 19th century, a time in which certain conventions ("realism," the "fourth wall") mainly existed because their superior technological antecedents hadn't been invented yet.

2:03 AM