The Playgoer: Open Thread

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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Open Thread

Interesting comments already coming in on Jim Nicola's new statement today on NYTW.org.

So I'd like to encourage more with an "open thread." So click on "comments" at the bottom of this box to read other readers' response and add your own.

Starting question: Is this story over? What's the "endgame"? How do you want to see this resolved?

Make no mistake--the persistent dialogue about this issue on blogs like this (and this and this and many others) are a big reason why this had to be posted.

3 comments:

Philip Munger said...

Thanks for trying to bring more input to the subject. I don't think there's a serious NYC theater blog willing or able to bring this to the fore in the "open thread" way.

Dr. Cashmere said...

Others have written eloquently about why the Workshop's latest statement falls short. So I'll just associate myself with those words and not comment further on the larger issue.

But after rereading the statement this morning, I was struck by the following sentence.

"As we listened to various opinions and read thousands of entries on websites and blogs, we realized we needed to find ways to let Rachel’s words rise above the polemics."

I strongly believe theatre companies should NOT feel compelled to poll, survey or consult their communities before making programming decisions. But I can understand a theatre's desire, with especially sensitive subject matter, to talk through the politics with local leaders in advance of a production, if only to demonstrate that their decision to program the work has not been made lightly.

However. Reading "thousand of entires on websites and blogs"? What kind of meshugginah community feedback process requires surveying the entire breadth of the online debate? What's next? Minute-by-minute monitoring of talk radio? An exhaustive survey of East Village bar bathroom graffiti?

Surely Nicola is stretching the truth here, isn't he? If NYTW truly did take the time to read "thousand of entires on websites and blogs" and then factor its blog findings into its decision to cancel (or "postpone" etc.) Rachel Corrie, the company's priorities are more out of whack than I ever imagined.

freespeechlover said...

The New York theatre community is too "understanding" and too enthralled with its own. There is something almost tribal here. Among academics, when university administrators try to pull this kind of nonsense, faculty get up in arms. And, believe me, faculty are very much people who are invested in the status quo and a pace of change that can only be described as cautious. But theater artists being understanding of "sensitive" feelings among some in the commmunity? How bizarre. In university civics courses, of the kind that are often required for graduation, there is a stronger grasp of democracy and the first amendment than it seems among the theater community in New York. Citizenship in a democracy assumes that people are robust individuals, not "sensitive," or easily "offended." The entire basis of democracy can be summed up in one sentence--You are not required to be me.

Yes, there are some brave souls speaking out, but artists, directors, actors, etc. should be the most outspoken, because art owes nothing to The Community. I'm very happy to see this blog, but I wish more actors were speaking up and out, especially in the "paper of record," even though its hardly been a beacon of democracy since 9/11.