|Gandhi's statue at Occupy Boston.|
And you know, I have to say one thing - I've almost never seen people from the theatre out there when it counted. I don't remember seeing any actors or directors or playwrights at these events (or critics either). Instead I always seem to see the same folks - the earnest, scruffy college kids, and the lesbian ministers, and the guy in the wheelchair, and the crunchy septuagenarians with their stringy hair and their beads and rainbow shirts who, let's face it, have always been in the right about everything.
I don't really feel the presence of the theatre, though. And certainly nobody at the protests thinks about the theatre (aside from maybe the Bread and Puppet folks). They know today's theatre follows, but never leads, the breaking political movements. You can count on the theatre to show up late, watching itself in the mirror.
But God, you would imagine from reading the theatre's own journals and blogs that it was somehow on the barricades. There's a constant ongoing battle, in fact, over who can look more progressive than whom. The world marches on without it, but the theatre still dreams it's leading the charge, and that its internecine squabbles are somehow mystically driving the dialogue. If only!
Which may be why I get pissed off (too pissed off, I know) when I read self-promotional material like this. On the one hand, I suppose, good for its author: she certainly understands how to get ahead in her little fishbowl (the other fish are all applauding). On the other hand - for chrissakes, to somebody who shivered in the cold and shouted down the opposition for the sake of marriage equality (or any equality) this all just looks so spoiled and obnoxious: an elaborate moral toilette that's all but indistinguishable from narcissism. No wonder nobody really takes the theater seriously! It has no fucking skin in the game. (I note the Youngblog's latest gambit is to "Brunchify Wall Street" - oh, how clever!) Seriously, you can't be a saint and a self-promoter at the same time - well, maybe you can in the blogosphere, and on the new play circuit, and even in Paula's playwriting class - but not at the pearly gates, if you know what I mean. And I think the people on the ground can feel the difference. The theatre won't really be politically relevant again until that changes.