“The theatre is dead, long live the theatre” « newplays-Blog

“The theatre is dead, long live the theatre”

Mostly, I wasted time on things that have little to do with art. But if theatre is a living thing, it should be equally alive every single time: the aliveness of the theatre performance cannot be measured by one actor coughing in a different spot during different performances…

I often use this old adage, or better, paraphrase it and use it as my personal motto in researching and creating theatre. The type of theatre with endless rehearsals that are nothing more than the preparation for a final revelation no longer interests me. What bothers me is exactly that: the theatre processes, rehearsals… always orientated towards the product, and I spent most of my creativity during such a process on production conditions; organisation, finances, making timetables to rehearse in impossible circumstances… Mostly, I wasted time on things that have little to do with art.

This type of creating theatre, with production, postproduction, touring… is, to me as a creator, effectively dead. Dead in the sense that the reprises are simply a distortion of something dead – a product being repeated ad infinitum – and this makes no sense to me. If theatre is a living thing, it should be equally alive every single time: the aliveness of the theatre performance cannot be measured by one actor coughing in a different spot during different performances…

However, I would like to emphasise that the performances of “dead theatre” can be supreme artistic products that don’t leave me indifferent. But I do believe that lately it is this striving of theatres (institutional and non-institutional) to get to the product which caused some sort of stagnation in this aspect as well, as truly superior artistic products have become extremely rare.

As a (co)creator in a theatre process I try to find different possibilities of theatre creation, but at the same time I continue to write texts that can be staged in the “product” context. It is the work in this process that doesn’t attract me.

(Original version by Simona Semenic in English.)

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