CMU School of Drama

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Why Unrest is Gold for Creatives

99U: In an era of upheaval and crisis, creative expression takes on new urgency. Writer Mike Sager calls upon his own formative teenage experience in 1969 that led him to begin using his stories to question authority. For those creatives feeling discontent in these fractious times, it’s a reminder that the simmering feeling of anger can be best used to issue a call to action and serve as a tool for change.


Katherine Sharpless said...

While this article gave a great insight into the youth counter culture of the 1960's and 70's, I wish the author expanded more on "Why Unrest is Gold for Creatives". It is true that the youth culture was born out of rebellion and the "question authority" mindset of the author and others of his time resulting from the Vietnam War and Civil Rights Movement, creating a demand and market for new art to match the rebellion. But he didn't provide insight into how an artist today feels inspired by unrest or political strife. He does open the article writing, "For those creatives feeling discontent in these fractious times, it’s a reminder that the simmering feeling of anger can be best used to issue a call to action and serve as a tool for change". This immediately reminded me of the "Let this anger fuel your art" posters which circulated Purnell after the election. I definitely felt the energy here of artists wanting to react to this huge political disappointment, but I suppose only time can tell what important art movements can be made, maybe romanticized like the 60's, from today's social and political issues.

Cosette Craig said...

So the point of the article was potent and universal but the article itself was not what I expected/wanted out of it. It was just a personal narrative but some of the subject matter resonated. Emotions that come from “unrest” (politcally, socially, etc.) are anger, frustration and passion. These in turn lead to purpose and focus. What I mean by that is, having a subject you feel strongly about and can articulate gives your work focus, and fighting for a message you believe in gives your work purpose.

When I’m watching a theater piece or walking through a museum or observing/absorbing art in any way there’s a noticeable distinction between pieces that were made to be made and pieces that were made to inspire. It’s the difference between a greeting card and a politically-charged sign at a protest.

Art is also a way to express thoughts and feelings of any kind and therefore, strong feelings = strong art, in essence.

Claire Krueger said...

Im impressed, in middle school the only thing I cared about was school ending and reading at home. While she may have only been interested in the weed a middle school being aware and having the desire to attend a protest is impressive. Even the drive to skip school, something I could have never done so young, is wildly impressive. Overall the author was entertaining and I enjoyed her levity especially the “burning undergarments” part. She did an excellent job of telling her story which felt real and demanded my empathy. It was an interesting window into how her events affected the course of her life however I didn't find it completely relevant. I know that the majority of the school of drama is currently at a protest and possibly in the same situation of the author however I just couldn't connect to the author. I guess that's more of a personal problem though and the rest of the school might find the article more valuable than I did.

Vanessa Ramon said...

While I agree with the author that times of unrest provide many opportunities to write call to actions, or pieces of anger, I think arts most powerful role during these times is telling the stories of those involved. Especially in theatre, we have the power to not only explain to someone how things once were, or how things are for the oppressed, we have the power to show people who may not understand (and we get to add a little extra dash of pathos to it). Not only do we get the word out on the conflicts, but we ourselves get a very deep understanding, we have the power to spread the word and educate those who never had the chance to learn. There are several ways to go about a crisis and for the author he decided that finding the facts and getting the word out was the best way to do so.