Wednesday, June 8, 2011

this I believe...

...That I am completely incapable of follow-through when it comes to this blog.

But but. Saturday I... well. No, no valid excuse there. Sunday I had auditions & work and was out of the house for like 6x longer than expected! Hah. Monday I... had to go to Mamaroneck for an audition that was so NOT worth commuting out to Westchester for. Yesterday I had no internet. Today I still kind of have no internet (because I am an idiot but for the time being I'll let that one alone).

Anyway. 30 Day Challenge, Day 2: Something you feel strongly about.

In London two weeks ago, I got in a small debate with my director over breakfast wherein he claimed that theatre that serves a political function - or any function beyond the purely artistic - was antithetical to the true nature of theatre. Now, this was hardly the first time this director and I had butted heads ideologically, but I was floored. A working professional in the New York theatre that said that theatre served NO function besides to entertain? ARE YOU KIDDING?

I was raised from before I had cognitive thought to believe in the importance of the arts - not because they are pretty or entertaining or make people feel good, but because they are necessary. Art serves a uniquely human function. We need it. Plain and simple.

My last year of college I took a class about contemporary American playwrights, and our final paper for that class had a rather unique assignment - touch on a theme that all these playwrights addressed when they spoke to the class, something that speaks to you, and write a 10 page paper. Go.

Plagued with a) laziness/senioritis and b) being overwhelmed by such a topic, at first I was like wait, what? Most. Pretentious. Topic. Ever.

But... somehow, as it always tends to do in my life, it came back to Shakespeare. That "the purpose of playing, both at the first and now, was and is, to hold, as 'twere, the mirror up to nature." The quote that's made it into at least 50% of papers I wrote in college ultimately lead me to my topic. Because while all these people were wildly smart about art and literature, and were hugely funny and incredibly articulate, they were also very very insightful about people. About the world. And about why theatre matters.

It hasn't always been the easiest, among future doctors and lawyers and the like that comprise most of my childhood friends, to defend why theatre school is not only HARD (hello, 40 hours of class a week) but also important. Why it's as valid a choice as biology or political science. Why it's not an entirely frivolous career choice particularly when you, like me, don't come from money. But the thing is, nobody I know that's in the arts got into it because they want to divorce themselves from the world. Rather because those people, to whatever degree, think that the creative impulse can and should change the world.

In mindlessly auditioning, I had sort of let slide the fact that actually yes, not only do I love theatre for me, but I love theatre for what it can be. Probably because I haven't seen a play in a long time, truthfully. So in a weird way, thanks, director, for coming out with a statement so ludicrous, so dangerous in it's dogma that it reminded me what this thing of ours is. It's fun. It's art. But it's also important. And it's also powerful.

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