News | 2008 | Blowhard on a Soapbox

Seeing as I'm now studying to be a playwright, I realized I had better update the artistic statement I came up with last year for the BC Arts Council. This is what I came up with.

I have heard theatre is dying. I have heard theatre is no longer relevant or accessible or meaningful to today's audiences. I have heard theatre has been eclipsed by film and television, and whatever can be achieved on stage can be done more dramatically and more efficiently and for more people through newer media. I don't believe it. Theatre has its place in today's culture, as does film and television. What the newer media cannot do--that theatre does so well--is to provide a unique shared cultural experience in an intimate setting to a specific audience. While film and television can indeed reach millions of people simultaneously, they are essentially static art forms. Yes, the onscreen action is dynamic, but each viewing of a film or television program provides an identical experience to any audience who views it. Theatre, in each performance of any given play, is unique time and again. Different productions, different actors, different directors, different visions. Because theatre is a collaborative art, each and every performance is unique. And for me, this uniqueness is thrilling.

I love watching plays. I enjoy sharing an audience's reactions. I like to see real people on stage and the nervous energy I feel, knowing a mistake could happen at any time. I like to see gifted actors improvise and recover and keep the artistic vision whole, even though by doing so--especially by doing so--they have created new art.

I love writing plays. I enjoy crafting experiences for others to share. I like to see actors bring my words to life. I like the new ideas directors and actors bring to my work, allowing me to share in the surprise an audience has with new material. I like it when they do a good job and I can sit back, enjoy the show, and at the end think that was cool.

Theatre is not dying. It has a place all its own in our culture. The unique shared intimate experience it creates is vibrant and alive and can be found no place else.

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