Wednesday, September 8, 2010


24-hour rolling theatre is not a new idea, but as far as I know it’s not been tried for any sustained period. The closest conceptual relation in recent years has probably been Brian Eno’s Civic Recovery Centre, which anyway has only been fleetingly realised, but the presence of actors in the model I’m describing seems to me crucial. Practical obstacles abound so if we have to treat this merely as a thought experiment then, OK, fine, whatever. But see what this does? Everything is improvised, or prepared in the same space that it’s shown and in the same full view. The freighted prestige of the actor within the apparatus of the theatre production is destroyed; the role of the director changes, the role of the writer, the designer, the musician, is folded into the live unit. Nobody mistakes this theatre for a kind of literature. Our current marketing apparatus becomes sublimely redundant. The relationship of the person in the street is not with the individual show, but with theatre itself as a special register of activity, one which simply involves an attentive encounter with others, in a place that’s designed specifically to nurture it.

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