Updated: Sep 25, 2020
This is a brief response to "The Forgotten Art of Assembly."
So many attempts at making sharp and relevant arguments about the critical issues we face these days seem to default to a dichotomous, right/ left, up/down, good/bad micro-universe that I often find excludes intrinsic messiness of human experience. The whole human race is involved in a day-at a-time dance to make meaning and sense in an upside-down, inside out Covid universe. For many, getting through those days with food and a roof and their health is a triumph. Making a weird play on the telephone or singing to a kid, or making a pot out of play dough is an act of liberating creative self-affirmation. We all know that whether you are a theater professional or a short order cook, fear and stress and unpredictability will often engender an act of making. Sometimes it produces something we call art, sometimes it produces a surprisingly delicious meal, sometimes it produces a baby. None of the artists I wrote about in my book Art and Upheaval saw themselves an anything more that members of communities struggling to survive, together. Everyone pitched in with whatever they had-- a hoe, a book, a dance, a song. The goal was to first maintain, second to find common ground, third to inch forward. That inching inevitably meant changing the story in some way; the pain story, the tragedy story, the downward spiral story, the death story. While the integrity of the theater world was not under discussion, the seething, bubbling, steaming stew pot of human hubbub that has given rise all the stories and songs, and dances, that have ever been in the history of the world was boiling over, and over, and over. Then, just as now, everybody got to decide their part. No Way + Imagination = WaySquared.