Saturday, April 21, 2007

Invincible, Even After Kryptonite!

I had considered calling this post "What the Fuck," but I was fearful that it might make some crazed religious nuts march through my front door, up to my computer, at which point they'd pour water all over it, and then storm out silently. I suddenly had the thought, "Well at least we can be glad that's all they did to Mike Daisey," during the middle of his performance of Invincible Summer at American Repertory Theatre, but I don't really think glad factors into it at all. More like, where are the criminal prosecutions against the people who purchased tickets to visit someone's intimate home, where they could then defile it with a silent but disruptive protest of another man's art.

Wait, I don't think protest is accurate here either: there were no words, no comments, no explanation . . . even when the monologist begged them, choking back his anger simply to better understand the situation, to stay and discuss what they had done. This was a premeditated hate crime, violent as anything physical may be, and I'd actually call for the police to try to track down some of these people who purchased tickets (there were 87 of them, and some record of where they came from, or a credit card receipt should be around somewhere) and to press charges.

I'm angry, and I wasn't even attacked, but I don't like what this says about art. We'd press charges if someone walked into a museum and flung water on a priceless piece of art -- the only difference here is that the original text that Mike had composed for his show isn't seen that way. And why not? What makes words any less valuable?

I'm offended too. You can see a YouTube clip of the "protest" on Mike's site, here, and read the following comments about it from Isaac and Matt, though I certainly hope there's more discussion (and as I said above, active prosecution) about this subject over this next week.

[Notice: Theatreforte]

1 comment:

Aaron Riccio said...

UPDATE: I'm continuing this thread by posting cgeye's comment from the Parabasis site, which I just spotted. Where are the cops?

I don't know what to think about this, because those script destroyers themselves gave a performance, a brazen one, in a center of liberal culture in NE, Cambridge, MA:

"Last night’s performance of INVINCIBLE SUMMER was disrupted when eighty seven members of a Christian group walked out of the show en masse, and chose to physically attack my work by pouring water on and destroying the original of the show outline.

I’m still dealing with all the ramifications, but here’s what it felt like from my end: I am performing the show to a packed house, when suddenly the lights start coming up in the house as a flood of people start walking down the aisles -- they looked like a flock of birds who’d been startled, the way they all moved so quickly, and at the same moment -- it was shocking, to see them surging down the aisles. The show halted as they fled, and at this moment a member of their group strode up to the table, stood looking down on me and poured water all over the outline, drenching everything in a kind of anti-baptism."

I know I should take this on faith, because attacks on authors and performers can happen anywhere, but I have questions:

* When did this group decide to attack him -- and why?
* How did they reserve and pay for their tickets? What is the name of their organization, and did it pay for the seats?
* If people are leaving the theatre, do lights go up at ART, automatically?
* If they are approaching the stage, were security guards present? Notified, afterwards?
* And who decided to raise the lights, stop the performance, then let them leave?

Lastly, there is nothing in the ART blog [] that states this work has type of controversial content. If this group decides to attack theatre, simply because it can, then this is the equivalent of the troll attacks on liberal/feminist blogs -- a pure show of power, with impunity.

This is why I'm saying, heads up. Refuse to let these people, no matter how the author is treating them with respect and compassion, hide their deeds in the dark. Drag them into the spotlight, and don't let them ever walk away again.