CMU School of Drama

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Imagining Theatre as a Town Hall Meeting

HowlRound: We’re living through a moment of real disdain for artists, evident not only in the recent threats to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and National Endowment for Humanities (NEH), but also via the ubiquitous insult of any displeasing event as “political theatre.” From the missile strike on Syria’s Shayrat Airbase to the House Intelligence Committee’s hearings on Russia and Sean Spicer’s press briefings, Americans have been quick to denounce what they see as spectacles meant to score political points. As a director, I’m fascinated by the presence and power of theatrical gestures in the political arena, and I’ve sought recently to make work that wrestles with both senses of the term political theatre. In particular, Chains Don’t Rattle Themselves: A Concert for Youth Justice, a song cycle I directed and co-conceived this year, drew inspiration from that most theatrical of civic affairs, the town hall.

1 comment:

Tahirah K. Agbamuche said...

It is really funny that when I initially decided to go the theatre route, it was to leave the political, real world behind and create a beautiful escape. This year I have learned something about myself; I do not want to just create a beautiful escape, and I do not want to run away from the real world, or politics. Instead, I want to immerse myself in it and become more aware, and truly be a citizen of the world. The theatre I aspire to create is intended to relate to people, send a message and draw parallels in our modern world. Political Theatre is among us, and it is growing in importance. I love the idea of imagining theatre as a town hall meeting- it is rather dramatic and theatrical sometimes and it really is about showing up and showing out, but in the end seeking justice. This is a mirror reflection of what I believe we should strive for in our world and with our theatre.

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