On the heels of last week’s McKellen/Nunn/Gardner stories regarding the health of repertory theatres and the state of English acting, Lyn Gardner asks for commenters to name excellent actors of the younger generation. The comments get pretty heated, but ask some good questions.
Nichelle offers advice on choreographing for musical theatre. I loved reading about her process.
Americans in the Arts lists the Top 10 Skills Children Learn from the Arts.
Joe Patti asks an interesting question- “At what point does a work of art cease to be art?”
Daniel Siedell thinks artists behave strangely to justify their place in the world. And here, I just thought I was weird. (HT: The Daily Dish)
Interesting Reads on Other Topics
Elena Passarello details our evolutionary changes to create our voices- “It’s a fact—we only speak because we had to, and we literally re-wired ourselves to meet that burning need for self-expression.”
Virginia Woolf on the difference between reading and learning. (HT: The Daily Dish)
Seth Godin on the differences between anticipation and anxiety. I hope I can start to channel my anxiety into anticipation!
Entries in Seth Godin (21)
Well, It's been awhile since I had one of these. Thank goodness Google Reader stars make it easy for me to find the ones I want to recommend/comment on! Enjoy!
Just because we are in theatre does not mean we tolerate drama. Michael at TheatreFace agrees.
There’s been a lot of discussion generated by Sir Ian McKellan’s comments that a lack of rep companies is going to result in the death of English theater. As a former member of one, I can say that the skills learned in a rep company are many. The experiences and opportunities given to members are extraordinary. It truly teaches you how to be a “company”. I will write more on this next week. But for now, read Sir Ian’s interview here, Lyn Gardner at the Guardian rebuts here.
Adam Thurman says we have enough stuff. “What we need is more meaningful experiences.” And not boring ones.
James Somer’s begs everyone to write. (HT: The Daily Dish)
Seth Godin recommends that we just start moving. Although “Making instructions is harder than following them.” Who’s up for the challenge?
And, a last little bit of Politics.
"Democracy is the recurrent suspicion that more than half of the people are right more than half the time. It is the feeling of privacy in the voting booths, the feeling of communion in the libraries, the feeling of vitality everywhere. Democracy is the letter to the editor. Democracy is the score at the beginning of the ninth. It is an idea which hasn’t been disproved yet, a song the words of which have not gone bad. It’s the mustard on the hot dog and the cream in the rationed coffee. Democracy is a request from a War Board, in the middle of the morning in the middle of a war, wanting to know what democracy is," - E.B. White, July 3, 1943. (Yeah, E.B. White. The Charlotte’s Web guy.) (HT: The Daily Dish)
Dan Gunderman at Duck Call has a post about time- creativity takes a lot of it! I feel so blessed that I now have a job that pays me for that creative development time, as well as the execution. I feel its rare, in the arts, to get that respect for the process. But incredibly necessary. This post also links to a great video of John Cleese addressing creativity. Worth the 30 minutes. Promise.
Lyn Gardner at The Guardian reflects on her favorite character from a play. She explores our connections to characters, and our connections to them as our own lives change. I'll be looking at this more for myself next week!
From Canada, host to 2 fairly new ballets this season, comes a story of ballet's love of fairy tale.
We enjoy the illusion because we know it’s not a trick of computers, but a labour of real bone and sinew. Ballet puts the nervous system back into the performance of fantasy.
David Ian Moss and Barry Hessenius post about Barry's Dinner-vention: If you could have dinner with arts leaders, who would they be? Moss offers brain storming ideas, and Barry will host the dinner!
We know I'm currently doing a good bit of research on reading. Here's another story, from Wired Science, this time on how reading affects the growth of the brain!
Words of Wisdom
From Seth Godin: "An organization that's run on emergencies and reaction to incoming doesn't know what to do when there are no problems."
I think it’s terribly easy to be selfish in the arts. Because it is so personal. Your voice, your body, your passion, your creations, are what make the art happen. And because it is personal, we strive to be the best- in every audition, creation and performance. Which requires tireless hours of training, rehearsal and work (on oursevles, mainly) to get there. But I don’t think it’s any different than others getting Master’s Degrees or PhDs. Or taking Continuing Education courses to get that next promotion, or keep their certifications current. It’s just a different path.
Despite our heavy emphasis on individuality in America, we are still very wary of anything non-traditional, especially when it comes to education and economy. I think that lends to the “selfish” stereotype of the artist. Yet, we idolize entrepreneurs and self-made millionaires, who are out there doing their own thing. Perhaps it is because they have such tangible rewards for their individual path. Art operates in the intangible.
Seth Godin writes in Linchpin “Art is a personal gift that changes the recipient. The medium doesn't matter. The intent does.”
Art is a gift. The generosity of the artist is what makes it so. And, like giving a birthday present, you have a certain personal interest in the response. You want the person to like their gift. To find it useful, or beautiful, or meaningful. And if you are able to give a good gift, that reflects well on you. You are in tune with the other’s needs and/or desires.
However, despite all the time we spend selecting the gift, or creating it, we ultimately have to give it. It eventually becomes not our gift, but another’s possession.
A true artist is out there to give it away. No, I’m not saying we shouldn’t be paid. We should. And fairly. I’m simply stating that when we give it away, we no longer control the response. We let the audience experience what they may, and learn what they may. Our personal experience becomes a shared experience. Art is meant to be encountered by others.
I do believe life in the arts is a balance. You have to take it personally, to give it your best. To stay hungry and relevant. But, it is also lived at the service of the story and the audience. Otherwise, it has no point.
So, I think both bosses are right. But I also think that you shouldn’t have one without the other.
Courtesy of 2amt- Don’t be afraid to fail. And, if you’re going to fail, fail gloriously. See also, Spiderman- Turn Off the Dark.
9 questions every organization should ask their board members and every board member should be able to answer. Try this at your next meeting. I think I’m going to.
The Attention Economy- “Attention is a bit like real estate, in that they're not making any more of it. Unlike real estate, though, it keeps going up in value.”
A Blog You Should Read
The Road Lots Traveled- (And not just because she’s my sister.) Valerie Perry writes about her life working on a cruise ship. Yeah, it will make you jealous. But she’s pretty funny. This week’s post include sea turtles, shipwrecks, Spanish lessons and laundry.