Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Is the Curtain Closing on Live Theater in America? « Culturebot:

The more I think about it, the more cheesed off I get that the 2009 Aspen Ideas festival is going to host a roundtable called “Is the Curtain Closing on Live Theater in America?”

The discussion is with Michael Eisner, founder, The Tornante Company; former chairman and CEO, the Walt Disney Company; trustee, the Aspen Institute, David Ives, playwright, All in the Timing: Six One-Act Comedies, Anna Deavere Smith, Pulitzer Prize-Nominated playwright and actress; professor, New York University; trustee, The Aspen Institute, and moderated by Dana Gioia, director, Harman-Eisner Program in the Arts, the Aspen Institute; former chairman, National Endowment for the Arts.

First off, it’s the wrong question to be asking. Secondly, these are not the best people to be answering the question anyway. The question isn’t whether live theater in America is over -which cannot be answered through a simple yes or no- but rather, how is live theater changing (or ought to be changing) to attract new audiences and stay relevant in these changing times? And then they should be inviting the people who are changing the theater – or live performance in general – to talk about what they’re doing. Not that there’s anything wrong with Ives or Smith, but they’re pretty conventional theater-makers. And I’m not sure what Eisner’s background in live theater is, outside of The Lion King and the rest of the Disney Theatricals properties.

12:02 AM