Photo by Debra Lopez
After reading Nicolas Berger's article The Forgotten Art of Assembly or Why Theatre Makers Should Stop Making, I sat down and wrote my practical response.
The question is less about whether or not theatre makers should stop making and rather, does theatre satisfy your purpose? If it does, then there is no question you should continue, but if it doesn't, then this moment where there is no LIVE theatre happening is an opportunity to examine exactly why you make theatre, who does it serve and how does it fulfill your life's purpose. Because lack of purpose or using a bandaide to cover up wounds that need healing is the truest and most lasting source of unhappiness.
I don't think the crisis has created a problem...theatre as church has been a fading thing for a long time. It stopped feeling like communion when i realized, I wasn’t an artist to get a sense of self-worth, i was a storyteller and a teacher of the human condition.
Once I reconciled that for me that wasn’t what was happening in the theatre, I no longer felt in alignment...I was clear that it was and is a very refined, elitist corp structure built by and for the wealthy w/the scariest elements of early industrialism: all the workers were working for slave wages bec they are not the priority. The very wealthy who pay for theatre are. Once I realized that my mission as a storyteller was no longer in line with the reality of the American theatre...the drive to create for it disappeared.
I began looking to other structures and places where art was used to teach purpose, compassion and healing and that was the priority...
If ur purpose in this life is to be seen feeling and being vulnerable and applauded bec someone saw you doing so...then perhaps in a limited way, it can provide some of that, but for me, my purpose had to be larger than that...
Story in large part is about seeing ur journey and the journey of people like u and being illuminated by that journey, changed, transformed leaving this place better than you found it...I chose a path for myself where that was happening...
So before you give all of ur self worth to an idea or institution that may or may not exist in the near future, the primary question should be: what is your purpose, why are you here and how will you leave this place better than you found it?
if the theatre answers those questions for u...then bravo...if not, perhaps this is an opportunity to examine alternatives instead of holding onto something that no longer serves u...
or, Why Theatre Makers Should Stop Making
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April Yvette Thompson