This will be rambly:
So tonight are the first of two performances of the Election Day Plays 2012 that I’ve been organizing, and I’ve been thinking a little about the nature of political art, particularly political theatre.
I think when most people hear “political theatre” they think “OH GOD NO.” They presume what they see will be agit-prop; it will be strident, humorless, and berating. Particularly in this day and age of instant scandals on Facebook and Twitter, not many people want to shell out twenty bucks to go see some actors tell them through a thinly-veiled story that These People Are Suffering And You Should Be Upset About It.
Perhaps people have an aversion to small-scale political theatre, but they have no problem with “actual” plays that happen to have political themes. Perhaps people like to feel like they’re being civic and connected and smart when they’re getting some entertainment. And plenty of TV and
I aimed to make the play I wrote for this evening entertaining as well as politically provocative, and I’m happy to report the other five playwrights did the same.
Perhaps the point of political theatre (or other political art) is specifically to make politics entertaining. It seems, sometimes, that even despite the hyperbolic efforts of the news media, that our political discourse is designed to be off-putting and esoteric as a kind of gatekeeping method. (Or that might just be a natural consequence of politics being what they are.) Arts and entertainment can take thick, mealy stuff like health care and history and culture wars and make them… well, fun. Perhaps people want to know about these things, and think about these things, but they just can’t stomach/understand/slog through the media discourse.
Anyways, those are some thoughts and I had them and you read them. If you want some more constructed and considered thoughts in the form of comedy and drama, and those of not just myself but five others and possibly your fellow audience members, AND if you live in DC or MD, come see the plays tonight. If you don’t live in the area… uh, leave a comment or something. Thanks!