Monday, June 14, 2010

I had a soundbite for the press interviews that went along with our Signal to Noise production of The Tempest in audiences’ own homes. “I’ve always tried to remember,” I’d confide, “that theatre is an experience you have, not a building you go to.” People liked that. And it’s true that an act of theatre can be undertaken anywhere, at any time, by anyone who wants it. But here we all are, sitting in a theatre that is still called a theatre despite only rarely in the last few years hosting any kind of theatre, let alone any theatre that was content to call itself theatre. The editors of the excellent new Kenning Anthology of Poets Theater lament that theatre changes more slowly than poetry does: but poetry is not the name of a kind of building, and buildings, even now, change more slowly than minds do. Ten years on, and about to start rehearsing a new piece for home performance, I would like, speculatively, to invert my soundbite. What if, while retaining our current plurality of performance spaces, both real and virtual, we said that theatre would in the future be distinguished by dint of its happening in a designated theatre building?

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