Monday, September 24, 2007

And What About The Audience?

I've been puzzling, still, over this idea of process v. product that I wrote about yesterday. (And for the people who read the comments to this post, yes, there are praises and rewards coming to my students. Ghee-dripping rewards.)

Sure, this is definitely a process-based performance. And life intervenes. Even today I was told that my rehearsal will probably start late due to another unexpected campus event.

But what about the audience? This performance is teaching my students a lot; specificity, control, technique (all at beginning levels, but still we're so much further along than we were on the first day). It's teaching me a lot; patience, improvisation, even how to use "being mean" to my advantage.

But when the audience comes in two weeks, will they enjoy the play?

Actually, they probably will. Like I mentioned earlier, it will be a cute show. Though it will be painted with very large brushstrokes (there's not a lot of subtlety or subtext in this show), they will be executed well.

But I'm still puzzling over whether there's a greater responsibility; this idea of "creating art" and all of that. This play will be far from "art," whatever that means. (And, actually, after seeing the Veiled Rebecca and the Indian miniatures in the Salar Jung Museum, I can say "that's what art is." Well, one type of art, anyway. Really I just wanted to name-drop the Salar Jung Museum.)

Does a play fail if it is not "art?" Using the miniatures and the sculpture referenced above as examples, one can say that "art" might only result from a mastery of a particular type of form. "Art," after all, describes an act; the "art" of painting, etc. Thus it implies the action involved in creation, and perhaps mastery of the art of painting leads to the "art" in a painting. And in my situation, on this campus, we're still learning the form. So we're not yet to "art" level.

But theatre always has to have that audience to watch it.

"Oh, they'll have a good time," I keep telling myself. And they will. It will be fun to watch this play.

But still... it is puzzling me.

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