Friday, April 07, 2006

Thoughts on the Barnard "Rachel Corrie" Panel

(To be read after reading the excellent highlights on Playgoer, to which I have little of substance to add.)

In no particular order:

1. John "J'accuse!" Heilpern is my new favorite theater journalist. He spoke of being radicalized by his reporting on the Corrie debacle, and like any convert, he's got the righteous zeal. (Check out his article on the subject in the New York Observer.) John, will you come to my Passover seder? We'll have real wine this year.

2. Interestingly, no one - not the panelists, not the audience - seems that enthused about My Name is Rachel Corrie as a play. People spoke about being moved by Rachel's words and her life, but all I remember hearing about the play are comments like "not formally challenging" and "not radical." I teach a graduate class in artistic and managerial decision-making, and my dramaturgy students dismissed the play as "sentimental"; one said that she wished My Name is Rachel Corrie was as "out there" as she'd been led to believe by the NYTW controversy. As one of the apparent few who have read the play, I also have conflicting opinions about it; some of it is wonderfully poetic and dramatic, and some of it reads like your worst diary entry. I find it mind-boggling that this play in particular could cause such an uproar in the theater community and become a flashpoint for issues of self-censorship, artistic leadership/cowardice, and the responsibility of the theater in times of political turmoil. Ah, well - you defend political theater with the play you have, not the play you wish you had.

3. Irrelevant but true: from the back row, Greg Mosher and Michael Cerveris look remarkably similar. I kept expecting Greg to whip out a tiny white coffin and a guitar. Instead, he unleashed a devastating attack on the NYTW defenders, demanding again and again to know when the decision was made to cancel the play and insisting that Jim Nicola needed to be held accountable. Greg was one of the few who had experienced the pressures of running a non-profit theater, and he cut NYTW no slack. If your fellow artistic directors can't support you, you're out of line.

4. Hey, panel audience - there's not so much a fine line between "asking a question" and "delivering a ten-minute dissertation." If y'all can't get to the question in the thirty seconds, then you don't, in fact, have a question. Don't make the panel moderator lose her mind.

5. Is the non-profit theater model dead? Its demise has been announced in several of my graduate classes, and at least one panel member pronounced an end to non-profit theater in the course of the Corrie discussion. As I see more and more institutional conservatism in the selection and production of new plays and musicals, I am beginning to think that a new model is urgently needed. But what is it? Any model I can come up with involves either artists working for free/real real cheap or some sort of donation structure. Anyone else working on this question?

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Chartreuse Escaltors + Check-in Conveyor Belts =...

Coolest. Library. Ever. (Check out the slide show for the full effect.)

Friday, March 26, 2004

Paying Per Note

If all rests are vacation time, will orchestra members end up owing money at the end of the year?

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

You mean the middle of the afternoon?

Not everyone's from Boston, John. But apparently the Virginians are getting a bit more conservative than they were in ole TJs time. Lord knows our founding fathers never thought about having sex with their wives. It's not like they were real people or anything.

(By the by, I saw 1776 in high school and loved it, as did all of my classmates. It's a film that has a strange, cult-like hold over all who view it.)

Monday, March 22, 2004

Evil Italian Guardians!

Your belonging in The Mysteries of Udolpho is quite
evident; a world of intrigue, melancholy,
sublimity and terror. You belong where there
are danger, gloomy edifices, and evil Italian
guardians. Your passion for the passion of the
Mediterranean, the divine contemplation of
nature, and for adventure stories, makes you a
prime contender for a spot in a gothic romance.

Which Classic Novel do You Belong In?
brought to you by Quizilla via Terry Teachout

Monday, March 15, 2004

No Man Resembles His Mother?

I would pay serious cash money to see John Mahoney as Lady Bracknell.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Our Generous Ancestors

The Washington Post responds to Samuel Huntington's assertion that Mexican immigrants are not likely to assimilate into American society and are threatening our Anglo-Protestant culture in this month's Foreign Policy.

I quote: "Hispanics stick to their own kind, Huntington says, clustering in places like Miami and Southern California, where they find lots of their compatriots. This is true, too -- and downright un-American. Why can't they expand their horizons and move into Chinatown or Little Italy? As we all know, Huntington's beloved Anglo-Protestants were always eager to share their neighborhoods (and their country clubs) with folks of other colors and creeds. In fact, before the Civil War, many Anglo-Protestants were so eager to meet folks from other cultures that they actually purchased them. That's an act of brotherhood that today's Mexican immigrants just can't match."

Monday, February 02, 2004

Phake Phunk

Spinal Tap, eat your heart out.

Role of the NEA?

I applaud the resurrection of the NEA, and I think "enlightened, life-affirming art" deserves to be seen by as many people as possible, but do we need government funding to focus on that old chestnut William Shakespeare? I may be living in a vacuum, but I don't think our far-flung communities are as starved for Shakespeare as they are for Miller and O'Neill, not to mention brilliant new plays like Copenhagen or Side Man. (Neither of which features urine or chocolate, although Side Man has flying macaroni and a lot of salty language.)

Also, where's the funding for new playwrights? All this cultural conservation is a noble activity, but I'm worried we won't have any new culture to conserve.

Yup, it's Monday, and I'm grumpy.

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Not a Shaggy Dog Story

Huzzah! Mark Haddon has won the Whitbread for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time.

I read this book about two months ago, and I loved it - it was one of the best novels I'd read in quite some time. Christopher, the 15-year-old autistic narrator, is an engaging presence, and by the end of his tale, you'll want to hug him (but you shouldn't, because it will upset him). Go to Amazon right now and buy it. You won't be sorry.