Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Shuffling the theatrical deck

Andy Field in The Guardian, 4/14/08

Nobody listens to entire albums anymore; we all just hit 'Shuffle' on our iPods. Shouldn't theater do the same?

Cites examples of theater troupes in which everyone memorized EVERY part (in *R&J,* in the Scottish play) and then pulled roles out of a hat. Aside from logistical problems, this seems like overkill to Bobo. It's an indirect way of playing to one of theater's strengths: audience interaction. Can't do that at home with your DVD; audiences love it. Why plod on with the dreary Ibsen model of fly-on-the-wall, no-4th-wall-broken-down remoteness? Hey, we're all in this room together -- let's have both actors and audience frankly acknowledge that fact. But can anyone volunteer a successful way of doing that with drama, as opposed to the clown pulling stunts out in the third row? (i.e., it's easier to do with comedy)

Read the comments, especially from insomniac506: Shuffling may work better with comedy than with drama. There is something still to be said for scripted, polished, refined performance.


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