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.
Sometimes I feel like people will never understand why the arts are important. If you’re not a member of the choir, there’s just no way to explain how the arts impact everyday life. Then I hear about a new arts immersion program which is making children more likely to come to school so they can learn. That’s huge. But there are also the smaller ways just this season has changed me.
Does it make me a bad person because I’m not a fan of Vincent van Gogh? My eyes involuntarily roll when someone talks about his genius. But I find myself listening more to news about him, and about other painters, since WEPG presented Inventing van Gogh. I’m looking for ways painters, potters and other creative soulds enrich the everyday. (I read today that the creators of Ragtime are writing a new musical about Degas’ Little Dancer, which made me think of COCA…but that’s another story).
I’m paying attention to stories about the incarcerated since This Wide Night made me ask the questions about how big a debt to society is. These questions about justice, and what I’m prepared to give up in its name, are really big ones and they have an impact on daily life in ways I overlooked before. I’ll really be searching my belief system when we start working on Lonesome Hollow - it’s that kind of show.
I’m a musical theatre geek, and catching Rex Harrison doing a song from My Fair Lady had extra resonance for me today, because I got to watch GBS fall in love involuntarily during Engaging Shaw. “Slings and Arrows” at Steve and Marjorie’s is more fun because I get to be in on the joke, and it makes me think of the season of Shaw we watched there.
My ears perk up when I hear mention of string quartets now, and I wonder if there is as much drama inherent in one as I saw during Opus. I’m enjoying seeking out quartet music, and thinking about dusting off my viola as a result. I like being consciously more aware of art as it intersects my life, and theatre reminds me to seek the experience.
Ok, so…collaboration…the act of a bunch of people putting their two cents’ worth in. It’s messy. It’s not controlled. If someone else’s choice is the next best thing…that means we’re going into uncharted territory, especially when it’s directly contrary to where you thought you were going. You could do it. You could do it now and on the plus side it would immediately be done, AND maybe be perfect first time out of the box.
But that’s not what we’re doing here. We’re collaborating. So that means he says the wrong thing…she says it later…but we’re all working together to create something. And that something is more than what we’re doing individually. We’re making it together. It may take more time, or you wishing you could just push the button at the right time, but when we do it together, it’s more than just the fact that I did it.
And when people see it, they don’t know whether it’s because of my intervention or because of your brilliance…the end result is amazing. We did it. And for the average Joe on the street, we did it. It’s awesome, we wept. So, we need to take a minute. Do the calculations. Together, what came out of our collective baton is worth a huge 100% cotton handkerchief. We made something that we stopped and said, “I am moved. I am glad I am moved. This is theater and I was there.”