What can theatre learn from the Harvard Business blogs?

Is it wrong for theatre artists to love the Harvard Business blogs? You decide. Check out a few recent posts:

From that last post: “A start-up company’s controller watched the CFO lie to members of other departments and subsequently began to doubt the CFO’s sincerity. He began looking for a new job with a boss whose intentions he could trust. In that instance, lying cost the company a valuable employee.”

Insights like these could go a long to helping emerging theatre companies find their corporate feet. Or maybe, when it comes to great theatre, art and commerce don’t mix?

Twitter theatre?

Three questions for any theatre people out there who are using the social networking tool Twitter:

1) How does Twitter help you be a better theatre professional?
2) How do you find other theatre people on Twitter?
3) Who would you recommend Twitter to?

Come to think of it, any thoughts on Twitter and its relationship to theatre would be awesome and of interest.

The shame of the arts administrator

Adam Thurman on artists versus administrators:

“It seems like the current trend in the theatre world is to make that term ‘arts administrator’ a dirty phrase.

To some artists we are the keepers of the wealth, gaining salaries and health benefits at their expense.

We are the people that build the bloated institutions that produce the subpar art for the masses.”

Full post here: Final confession.

Nestruck on Theatre

In case you missed it, The Globe and Mail’s national theatre critic, J. Kelly Nestruck, has started a Globe theatre blog called Nestruck on Theatre:

“This is where critic J. Kelly Nestruck posts his review after-thoughts and keeps an eye on what’s going on in theatre across Canada and around the world.”

This is a new level of engagement in Canadian criticism, and a big push in the right direction for the Canadian theatrosphere. And barely a week in and the fur is already flying – as Canadian directing legend Morris Panych takes Nestruck to task on the semantics of a “slanted perspective.”

Awesome.

10 questions remixed: Anger

1) How much of your work is informed by a sense of anger?
All of it. Every last consonant and mother-fucking vowel bleeds anger. Every shitty fucking sound cue and half-assed piece of shit lighting change in my shows are chosen while very angry. All the fucking posters and handbills and shitty little websites I make on my stupid fucking MacBook are all pieces of shit but apparently necessary to promote the dumb fucking shows I have chosen to . . .

2) How much of your work is informed by a sense of anger?
None.

3) How much of your work is informed by a sense of anger?
What kind of stupid fucking question is that? You’re lucky you live on the other side of the country Mackenzie, or I’d punch you right in the face.

Actually, my first hit was: anger? Me? Whaddya mean, I’m not angry…am I? And of course, a look back at my body of work to date reveals that there’s levels of anger in the genesis of all of it, which, upon further consideration, is as close an approximation to my personal definition of the true nature of art as I have ever considered. The play I’m working on right now, set in a bar, is entirely about the consequences of anger, as a matter of fact. Revelatory, thank you.

David Tompa (L) and Glen McDonald (R).

4) How much of your artistic process is informed by a sense of anger?
Less anger and more frustration. Theatre and film can be such powerful mediums. When I see product out there that isn’t really trying then it feels like such a waste. It gives the industry a bad name and gives people permission to expect less when they go out to see a show. We should be constantly pushing to challenge ourselves and our audiences.

5) How much of your artistic process is informed by a sense of anger?
None! (I’ll fucking kill you for even suggesting it.)

6) How much of your work is informed by a sense of anger?
anger is very important in my work, especially when it can be transformed into inspiration. anger is an emotion that can tell you when a situation is very wrong and if channeled carefully can lead to some amazing questions. for my own process, anger has always been a gem. in my most angered moments I have learnt so much about myself, so much about the ways in which I am growing and all the room I have left to grow. I have also learnt about my ability to be courageous in the face of ostracization. mostly, when I have looked deeply at my anger I have realized that it masked a deeper hurt and pain. so my anger has also taught me about my humanity. and in turn about other people’s humanity. as artists it is also our business to deeply investigate the ways people’s humanities (womb)manifest. I use anger in my work both to inform characters and to inform subject matter.

7) What are you angry about?
Stupid. Stupid makes me angry.

Voting for a president who you’d like to have a beer with? Stupid.

Banning smoking because Communism fell and we all needed another enemy is stupid.

Dumbing down our educational system by making it more about taking tests than learning and then complaining about how thuggish, drunk and vapid kids are is stupid.

Legally Blond The Musical? – stupid.

Doing NOTHING about Global Warming? Myopic and stupid.

Not impeaching our corrupt Executive Branch but investigating Baseball? S-T-U-P-I-D.

Defining basic sadness as clinical depression in order to boost anti-depressant sales – stupid AND corrupt.

There’s a lot of stupid out there. All you have to do is open your eyes and be amazed.

8) How much of your work is informed by a sense of anger?
Honestly, not much. Heartbreak, often, but not anger. At least, not yet.

Erika Batdorf
Photo by David Leyes.

9) How much of your work is informed by a sense of anger?
Hmmm, I think that was done several pieces ago. Although sometimes I have to rustle up some righteous indignation to keep me going in the business aspect of the work! But not artistically.

Mac Rogers.
Photo by Saundra Yaklin.

10) How much of your work is informed by a sense of anger?
Almost none of it. My work is informed by terror. I start from a place of weakness and fear, and try to see where it leads. I have the liberal’s weakness, of seeing an injustice in society and instead of doggedly and dogmatically trying to fix it, at any cost to anything else, I go to self analysis mode, wondering what I and others who resemble me may have done to allow this injustice to exist, and what weakness in ourselves may have led us to do that thing. I learned this reaction from reading the works of Wallace Shawn in my mid–twenties, which was incredibly influential on me.

The one thing I ever wrote from anger was this big goofy musical I cowrote with Sean and Jordy called Fleet Week, which was sort of a gay On The Town, but written in reaction to learning about the number of voters who cited a dislike of gay marriage as a key reason to re-elect George Bush. The show is mostly smutty comedy, but it’s angry smutty comedy.

Out and about

Courtenay Stevens – who played the Architect/Sailor in CanStage’s The Overcoat – was spotted chatting on his cellphone outside Bread & Circus theatre bar in Toronto’s Kensington Market.
Word on the street is that he’s remounting his production of Lawrence & Holloman at this edgy, downtown theatre in early April.


Spotted any hot theatre talent out and about
in your neighbourhood?
Send us your starstruck theatre photos:
celebrity@praxistheatre.com

Out and about

Donna-Michelle St. Bernard and Catherine Hernandez
(both of Native Earth Performing Arts)
seen here leaving their offices in Torontos Distillery District.
The pair were seen later in the day shopping at
Torontos upscale MarieJosette wearable art boutique.


Spotted any hot theatre talent out and about
in your neighbourhood?
Send us your starstruck theatre photos:
celebrity@praxistheatre.com