What is True What is False

Anne Bogart's picture

Yes, I have tricks in my pocket; I have things up my sleeve. But I am the opposite of a stage magician. He gives you illusion that has the appearance of truth. I give you truth in the pleasant disguise of illusion.

(Tennessee Williams) 

In the current climate of fear and lie mongering, Harold Pinter’s 2005 Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech is worth listening to again or re-reading. Pinter sits in a wheelchair in London, too ill to make the trip to Stockholm, and speaks eloquently about the difference between truth and lies, reality and unreality in art versus in political life. He begins by taking issue with something that he himself wrote in 1958: “There are no hard distinctions between what is real and what is unreal, nor between what is true and what is false.  A thing is not necessarily either true or false; it can be both true and false.”

Dancing in the Dragon’s Mouth: The Civic Role of the Performer

Leon Ingulsrud's picture

A-wop-bop-a-loo-mop-a-lop-bom-bom
Tutti Frutti, aw rooty
Tutti Frutti, aw rooty
Tutti Frutti, aw rooty
Tutti Frutti, aw rooty
Tutti Frutti, aw rooty
A-wop-bop-a-loo-mop-a-lop-bom-bom

This is how the inscrutably professorial Arnold Aronson began a lecture one afternoon in a theater history class he taught while I was working on my MFA at Columbia. This is also the distinctive beginning of Little Richard’s first hit, and one of rock and roll’s most iconic songs: Tutti Frutti.

Making Decisions Together

Anne Bogart's picture

My close friends who are jazz aficionados usually are surprised and puzzled by my aversion to a great deal of contemporary jazz. They assume that I would love all jazz because of my affinity for music and because I am so intensely interested in group creation and improvisation. They point to my fascination with the origins of American cultural history, noting that jazz is acknowledged as the first true North American art form. But the fact is that I cringe while listening to what I consider noodle-y jazz. I find myself annoyed at what feels to be chaotic and unstructured noise.

I do enjoy jazz from earlier periods, including New Orleans jazz from the first part of the last century, dance music from the 1930s including swing, Kansas City and Gypsy Jazz. I like bebop from the 1940s. But I duck out around the “cool jazz” of the late 1940s and especially into the 50s. I am lost when it comes to modal jazz, fusion jazz and smooth jazz.  

The Ecology (and maybe The Future) of Theater: My Summer with SITI

Nishad More's picture

In May of this year, I began my Fellowship at SITI Company, a position created as part of the Management Incubator program. The Incubator aims to give creative entrepreneurs of color the opportunity to develop their skills in a high-intensity, real-world environment. In this industry, the barriers to entry for administrative staff, management staff and of course, performers, are all the same, as many entry-level positions require significant (frequently unpaid) experience, which often comes at a high cost to young graduates.  

Hold Your Seat

Anne Bogart's picture

On a recent evening in Santa Monica I saw Bo Burnham’s new film “Eighth Grade.” I walked out of the cinema in a daze and remained haunted by it for quite some time afterwards. In the film, a young girl struggles to get along with her peers. She and her friends are glued to their phones and seemingly addicted to social media. She is desperate to be accepted and, although isolated in her personal life and at school, she sends out messages of optimism and motivation to the world via her vlogs and Instagram. 

Every once in a while, I encounter a work of art that feels so true to our current cultural moment that I become somewhat catatonic after the experience. “Eighth Grade” had such an impact upon me because it captured the culture of flighty digital dependency that I recognize as the base line, the underbelly, of our current daily lives.

Influence

Anne Bogart's picture

I currently serve on the Executive Board of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC), the union for directors and choreographers. Recently at Board meetings and, in fact, amidst many directors in the field, conversations abound around the phenomenon of theater directors who copy the staging created by other theater directors. The subject is discussed with great heat and passion in the search for due process and even litigation. What actions can be taken in retribution for a director stealing the work of another director? 

Although I am certainly not advocating that directors make direct copies of other directors’ work, I am interested in the phenomenon of influence. We do not create in a void.

Bacchae @Getty Villa diary 2018.07.30

Akiko Aizawa's picture

Bacchae @Getty Villa Diary 2018.07.30

 

1st day of the 2nd week with 3 new faces in the room!

 

Aaron Poochigian: our Bacchae translater.

Eleni Kyriacou: costume designer from Greece.

Kelly Maurer: from SITI to help Chorus work (I mean, everything)

 

Today’s rehearsal was charged with energy and passion.

How lucky I am to work with these wonderful people in this artistic place on this difficult/tricky but important play!

 

Bacche Diary 7/28/18

Leon Ingulsrud's picture

Here we go again.

So much of the theater is about repetition. In this way it reflects the cycles of life: seasons, days, the functions of the body and mind. Repetition brings our attention to the passage of time, what remains, what changes. Often repetition can drive us crazy, but it seems that the trick is to surf ON the waves that break, over and over onto the shore instead of being engulfed IN them.

SITI Company finds ourselves back at the Getty Villa this week. Although our company for the Bacchae includes some for whom the Villa is new, for many of us, this is a pleasant return to a place that we are privileged to find familiar and welcoming. 
The staff is so welcoming. The beautiful architecture takes on the feeling of home. The collection has been re-arranged which only reminds us that we had built up a familiarity with how it had been exhibited. Some of the rooms feel like dad and mom rearranged the furniture in our house while we were at college. Didn’t that chair used to be upstairs…?

Getting Stuck and (hopefully) Getting Unstuck

Anne Bogart's picture

Experiencing an impasse in one’s work or personal life can feel both painful and complicated. But I also know that an impasse is a sign, a signal that attention must be paid, and something must change. Lately I have been getting stuck repeatedly, in the artistic process, in daily life, with family, with friends and with colleagues. In writing here I hope to share the strategies that I am struggling with in my attempts become unstuck. I cannot state triumphantly that I am succeeding, but I am trying. The process is awkward and time-consuming, but I know that it is necessary. In writing here I am striving personally, even in the midst of being stuck, to unpack the dilemma of being stuck. I hope that writing these reflections will help. I shall start with a fairly recent professional impasse.

A Meditation upon Dionysus's Smile

Anne Bogart's picture

The poorest way to face life is to face it with a sneer.  (Theodore Roosevelt)

I already miss Anthony Bourdain, a man who traveled the world through his senses and shared his experiences and enthusiasms with countless viewers.  His access to the world came first through food, which led him to stories, which in turn, through his senses, his palate and his openness, led to an empathy for specific cultures and the individuals within those cultures.  His palpable humanity seemed to arise from learning people’s stories through their food. Bourdain often insisted that he was the dumbest person in the room, that in his journeys he constantly discovered that he had been wrong about the assumptions with which he had arrived. He stayed open to influence and cultural difference.  And then, apparently, he committed suicide.

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