In what he’s said will be the first in a series of follow-ups to our recent interview with him (and some of the comments that followed), University of North Carolina theatre professor Scott Walters has elaborated on the “centralization of theatre” issue.
In this post, he argues that the centralization of American theatre is sapping regional, non-NYC theatre of its vitality.
“Over the course of the 20th century, the devotees of modernism have successfully stereotyped all non-urban, not Eastern, non-Northern people of the US as unsophisticated hicks, and it has all the characteristics of most bigotry – a stubborn refusal to respect ways of being that differ from one’s own. This extends to class issues as well, as most theatre artists are college educated beyond their class (I know this is true of me) and often have a great disdain for their roots (something I have had to work through as well).”
And later in the post . . .
“When young actors graduate from college and feel that they must go to NYC if they want to work, even though they would prefer to live elsewhere, there is something wrong. Why can’t they live where they want to live? Because the regional theatres who might offer a living wage are all casting out of NYC. I freelanced in Minneapolis for a number of years, and it was just an accepted fact that no local actor was ever going to get cast in a decent role at the Guthrie, because they cast in NYC. And that’s centralization, and that is wrong.”
Interesting stuff. Check out the full post at his blog, Theatre Ideas. And if anyone has any related thoughts on the Canadian condition, the floor is yours . . .