Friday, May 02, 2008

Alias Godot: What the fuck is this weird-fest about?

Gotta love some of actor Paul Braunstein's honest answers in this Praxis Theatre interview about Alias Godot:
4) What was your first reaction after reading Gall’s script?
My first reaction to his play was:

1. hope I get to be in it
2. hilarious.
3. what the fuck is it about?

5) How would you describe Richard Rose’s approach to directing this project?
Richard’s approach to this was let’s get into the truth of the relationships, otherwise it will just be a weird-fest, that’s my interpretation anyway.
Elsewhere in the blogosphere, I'm pleased to see my recent article about the lack of Canadian plays about Afghanistan has stirred up a bit of discussion.

- The Wrecking Ball blames our tradition of timidity, but also notes that Afghanistan is just a hard issue to write about: "Reading Outside the Wire, (first-hand accounts of Canadians in Afghanistan) or Sarah Chayes’ brilliant book The Punishment of Virtue or watching her talk about the situation recently on PBS, it’s clear how muddy it all is. Are we an occupation force? Are we fighting a nebulous American-led War on Terror? Are we peace-keeping? Nation-building? Are we preventing human rights atrocities? Or are we committing them? What is our mission anyway? But of course theatre doesn’t have to answer those questions, it has to pose them. It has to dramatize those questions."

Praxis Theatre tried to get a discussion going over on their Theatre is Territory blog, then, over at the Guardian blog, Chris Wilkinson kept it alive in his latest Noises Off.


Ian Mackenzie said...

The Wrecking Ball (Ross Manson?) is dead on in identifying Canada's ample engagement in identity politics. We do it well. We do it often. It’s an important form of political engagement.

But I think we’re also seeing that all this identity gazing comes with a downside: Canadian artists have learned that nothing ever is simply as it is, it is only as it is in relation to what else it might be and what it’s not (the perils of hyphenation). And it just might be a lesson we’ve learned too well. It makes for great identity literature, but as a national style guide these endless shades of grey prevent us from arriving at concrete conclusions about specific political events.

If our work is going to come right out and talk about Canada’s military engagement in Afghanistan, for example, we're going to have to come up with some conclusions about what's going on there. And once we get into the business of arriving at conclusions, we run the risk of being wrong, or – worse – falling victim to the kind of black and white, binary thinking Canadians criticize Americans for.

We're probably just as capable of doing it as any other nation. But right now it seems that concrete conclusions aren’t wired into our national artistic DNA. So we stick with what we know best: identity politics and plotting shades of grey.

That’s what I’m getting from all this anyway.

Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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