Here and Now

I’m a collector. Not a serious one. You might even replace “collector” with “hoarder” (although like any hoarder I don’t think I’m that bad). I like to collect things to read, things I have read that meant something to me, things I’m going to read when I have a spare millisecond…well, you get the idea. So, when the pile gets to the tipping point, I go through it and find all the things I meant to do something with…sometime.

And I just found a terrific article from The Australian, dated December 3, 2012. Yeah. I’m comforting myself with the idea that it’s still in the same fiscal year. And rereading it, I’m so glad I kept it. It’s full of wonderful nuggets, like the idea that theatre is a resonating space, “the orderly harnessing of tones, semitones, harmonics and vibrations.” Andrew Upton makes the point that theatre has harmony, dissonance, contradictory ideas…and inside the article he talks about the responsibility of both audience and actor, because the whole moment in time takes place right here, right now.

I was sad to see that The Village Voice let its theatre critic go recently. We have so few educated voices talking about why the arts are important, any time one of them is silenced, we all are a bit the poorer for it. The performing arts describe life as we know it, as we wish it, as we think it might be, and the opportunity to share in that…right here, right now, makes us better human beings.

Critical

We know what we like (and what we don’t like) and even though we’re not always clear about the WHY, it seems like we tend to believe we’re right about whatever it is AND know that anyone who agrees with us is a cut above the common herd.

Which is why this amused me.

It caught my eye, because Richard Serra is a sore subject in St. Louis. His sculpture is almost universally maligned, and referred to frequently in restroom terms. Anyone willing to admit they even tolerate it keeps his/her head down.

So I kept reading. And came away with a couple of questions for myself. Am I willing to try again? See something I am completely convinced I’m going to hate (yes, I’m referring to you, Baz Lehrmann) and keep an open mind? I’m skeptical. But that’s the thing about the arts in general. Someone picks a different tempo…a different time period…a different line reading, and it’s like you turned a corner down an entirely different street – in another country.

And after reading this article, I’m left with an entirely different yardstick, with Serra on one end and Dr. Seuss somewhere in the middle. Something to think about.