Friday, June 15, 2007

Running Commentary

"One must embrace the whole world to then be able to spit it back out again," writes Fabrice Melquiot, whose Devil on All Sides I just saw performed (in translation) by foolsFURY at PS122. Given the whole red state/blue state debate that's been boiling since the Impending Theatrical Blogging Event, I was wondering what the take is on this: clearly, if you want to write a piece about all sorts of characters, this is true, for accuracy's sake. But more and more often, plays are focusing in on specifics, which can either seem freeing or sheltered, and which is why some people I know refuse to go see plays: they find them to be bullshit. Melquiot's play is one of those dividing forces, which is poetic, and visual, and turns war (at one point) into a sort of game children play, but what's surprising about it is that it captures many different voices from the war in the former Yugoslavia. Most plays I see these days wouldn't bother having characters from both sides, especially when it comes to political ones . . . thoughts?

By the way, foolsFURY interprets theater like this: "We believe that for theater to be successful it must provide audiences with unique and powerful experiences that they cannot have watching television or film." This is along the lines of a discussion I just had with a co-worker, as to how I despise plays being adapted for film (which, even when it works due to visual prowess, is still just diluting a more intimate act, and justifying people's choices to stay away from the "overpriced" or "inaccessible" theater). Here's a company that's taking it back for the theater by trying to remind audiences that there are some things that they can experience only live and on stage. Devil on All Sides doesn't always work for me, but I'd still rather see that than a film.

Finally, a closing thought from E. B. White, no theater attached: "Once having given a pig an enema there is no turning back, no chance of resuming one of life's more stereotyped roles."

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