A Note from Wu Chen
“Great art has dreadful manners.”
So begins the introduction to Simon Schama’s book companion to his TV series Power of Art (also this month’s Recommends). “Merciless and wily, the greatest paintings grab you in a headlock, rough up your composure and then proceed in short order to rearrange your sense of reality.”
This is just as applicable to the audience experience of a piece of performance art as it is to visual art. But although the experience of an audience is a shared, communal, and dynamic one, for each person it is also a subjective, personal, and individual. People aren’t all moved by the same things, don’t all have the same truths. And thus is born a wide variety of art, both in form and in intent, as we attempt to invoke the power of art to immerse and evoke; soothe and calm; perturb and disturb; arouse and awaken; to get under your skin.
In the relationship with the audience, a work speaks for itself: norms have no objective merit so all manner of folks can experience and participate in it, along with others both eerily familiar and utterly alien to themselves.
Speaking of participating, this month Sound Designer Katharine Horowitz begins a grand journey into what is sometimes called “interactive theater”. This will be a four-part series, so stay tuned as Horowitz turns her sharp mind toward exploring this daring style that’s seeing a great rise among companies of all types.
Local theatre legend James Williams joins us for Sightlines this month. He muses on a storied career, while challenging our sense of how our industry has affected our communities, what we are trying to achieve, and how we are going about it. As he has always done, Williams challenges us and drives us forward.
As our two contributors indicate, the future looks exciting and challenging; terrifying and bright. Don’t let a misplaced sense of tradition and rectitude hold us back.
-Wu Chen Khoo
co-founder and Operations Director
Technical Tools of the Trade