Sunday, February 28, 2016

February 27, 2016

Mediocre day at the studio, though I redeemed what was at first amiss. Saw at play at UNCA about the Los Angeles riots of 1992. It did not compel. It was not well done, but saying that I add immediately that it’s exactly the kind of thing that a department like ours should be doing. Maybe it could not have succeeded, however well done. Art can reveal truth or be itself the truth, but it is a poor vector for making a specific or deliberate political point. Plays used or created as arguments or indoctrination never work, however noble the intention. Though having said that, the intention to force a work of art to function other than as itself is never noble, but a kind of usurpation, or at best a fatal misunderstanding. Changing the gender of a character to make a point is always wrong and always fails in everything but making that particular point. Grinding the corners of a play to make it fly to a specific target is always ruination, even if the target is achieved. Plays about real events work when they are plays, maybe, but never when they are a pastiche of voices taken from the actual event. That is something else. That is a re-hash of a news broadcast, at best a reminder, at worst a parody.
The new chancellor and the new provost are now attending events at the university such as play productions, which is a palpable and laudable improvement over recent memory.

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