Note- The link to the article mentioned in this post is located below.
The content of this article, despite what it attempted to say, assumed that live theatre is not political by nature. It also articulated in more indirect terms, the notion that commercial theatre should become political in order to sell tickets. But, hasn’t theatre always been political? Not just avant-garde theatre, mind you, but commercial theatre as well?
I never knew I could be so wrong.
This article seems to have proved to me the opposite of what it was trying to say: that theatre is, in fact, one of the least politically powerful art forms. If it was so difficult for the author of this piece to trace the political/ethical dialogue carried through such commercial theatre makers as Shakespeare, Churchill, Miller, Williams, and now Miranda, perhaps theatre has lost its’ potency. Perhaps the author could not identify the fact that each of these playwrights were in ethical dialogue with their moment.
If this was so, perhaps theatre is not the most politically powerful art form of 2017, or any time. If Ms. Grady did not discover the political undertones, overtones, and agendas of the past several hundred years of theatre, it was all a waste. Ms. Grady has realized, lo and behold, that theatre CAN BE POLITICAL IN THIS YEAR, 2017! And what was most saddening to learn, as Grady’s soaring pros took me on a journey of feverish exaltation, was that several hundred years of playwrights were, in fact, wasting their time. Miller was playing it safe with the Crucible. Churchill had done nothing radical with Cloud 9. Why? Because political entertainment was not marketable or even real until now. Audiences never had a taste for sex, scandal, or standing up to power. These were not commercially viable topics for performance, until now. Everything has changed.
This, friends, is a new frontier.
2017 is the rebirth of theatre, and we are on the verge of a revolution.
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