Monday, June 30, 2008

A New Way of Thinking

Once again we turn to our old friend Ben Cameron to give us another thing to think about in the future of theatre. Where is our art form heading in the form it uses to tell stories.

"...cognitive studies basically show that people over 40 think in linear narrative patterns, people under 20 think in visual and associative patterns. Think of the difference between ABC news and MTV news. Think of the difference between the sort of narrative stories we read as children and the Sesame Street format of "here's the letter A, now the number 10, and now let's all go to Afghanistan." It's a different perceptual framework that they are encouraged to use, and for us in the theater field, one of the critical issues we have to face is, what will it mean for our art form, in which 90 percent of our stories are told in a linear narrative construct, if increasingly we are being asked to tell them to an audience who is primed to hear stories told in a visual and associative way? All our talk, I think, about student matinee tickets is totally misplaced because when we say, "Gee, if we just cut student rush ticket prices, they will come flocking in our doors." I am sorry, but if it's about economics why, when I'm at Tower Records at midnight, am I number 47 in line behind kids who are carrying stacks of CDs at 15, 16, 17 bucks apiece? If it's an economic issue why, when I go back to Minnesota and go see the artist formerly known as the artist formerly known as Prince because he's Prince again, am I surrounded by kids who spend $105 per seat to be there? For me, in theater, I think this disconnect between our perceptual frameworks is profound, again possibly not of relevance."

Think again of our discussions of the Elements of Theatre and what defines theatre against another performance. What happens when plays work more like hip-hip and start sampling pop culture and other sources? What happens when theatre is told through a series of images and vignettes like a photo slide show on the internet?

Another thing to think of - many of Ben Cameron's speeches reference 9/11 as a huge turning point. While he is generally pointing to the economic and arts funding issues that have arisen since then, how has that changed our view of the world and how art reflects that image back to us?

Happy Birthday: (June 28) Luigi Pirandello (1867-1936)

No comments:

Post a Comment