I recently had the pleasure of seeing a reading of Motti Lerner
's At Night's End
as presented by Israeli Stage
. This was one of the most profound theatrical commentaries of the long term effects of war on individuals, families, and society at large that I have seen in a very long time. The structure of the piece reminded me quite a bit of the work of Eugene O'Neill, though the translation and direction somehow managed to maintain the rhythms of Israeli Hebrew. The playwright was there to take questions and comments (I understood that the play itself is still in development). The play is set in Haifa during the recent Lebanon war and rockets and shelling are a constant factor.
At the center of the play was a very powerful and disturbing portrayal of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
The subject matter has great relevance to our own society right now with so many American soldiers returning from wars overseas.
I hope to see a full production of this play in the near future. We see so much of Israel on the news, and yet for a country that is in our public consciousness so much, we as Americans do not get a whole lot of exposure to Israeli arts.
I've been thinking a lot lately about the relationships between social media, online marketing, and live performance. I use the plural because the internet is now a broad enough topic that the relationship between say, twitter and audience development is very different than the phenomenon of critics with blogs, which again is very different from online ticket sales, which is again not in the same universe as online script sales and licensing. On top of this, we now have the phenomenon of active audience participation through smartphones in some performances, as well as some theatres now having a "twitter section" where audiences are welcome to use smartphones to tweet their experiences as they're happening. (There has recently been a whole lot of discussion on this phenomenon, my feelings on it are mixed and I am waiting to see what comes of putting this policy into effect.)
Now, some of you who know me as a scholar know that one of my major research interests is the entrepreneurial imperative of the American artist, or, in more plain English: the business of being an artist. A great deal of the business end of things is now happening online.
What follows are some (very) loosely organized thoughts on the relationships between the theatre community and the internet. (I may expand on specific segments of this post at a later date.)
Over the past few weeks I've found myself in the position of being asked by college students and recent graduates how to get started with working in theatre in Boston. And in the very recent past I was elected to the board of the Small Theatre Alliance of Boston
, which is a position I sought out in part so that I could work on university outreach. As someone who frequently has a part in training young artists on how
to make theatre, I feel it's also important to talk to them about where
to make theatre beyond the confines of the academy. This is basically what I tell people about working in Boston...
This past Monday I took part in a Small Theatre Alliance of Boston
Open Mic Night at the Charlestown Working Theater
. I brought in a section of a new full length play I'm working on called Burning Up the Dictionary
, which I'm billing as "a story of language, love, lust and loss." I'll be having a round table of the entire thing at the Lark Play Development Center
in New York City next month, so this was a great opportunity to test-drive a section of it in front of an audience and see how things play in front of an audience as I work on it in preparation for the Lark. I've been developing it through the Playwrights' Commons
Playwrights' Playground this past summer (which was quite a blessing), but this was the first time I'd heard it in front of an audience as opposed to workshop participants.