Songs for the Struggling Artist


The Theatre of the Future
September 18, 2011, 12:46 am
Filed under: art, dreams, theatre | Tags: , , ,

I’ve been reading some lectures that Michael Chekhov gave in the 40s. One thing he keeps talking about is the Theatre of the Future and the Actor of the Future. In this future, he sees the form elevated and infused with spirituality and power. In this future, the theatre is potent with meaning and magic. I’m touched by this in two ways. 1) We’re IN the future. It’s 70 some years later and the theatre we’re in seems nothing like he described. 2) We don’t talk about the Theatre of the Future anymore. Unless we’re talking about it as the Death of Theatre. We’ve lost this hopeful wonder.
I’m interested in what would happen if we began to talk about the Theatre of the Future again – and interested in what it would take to become hopeful about it. I’ve been doing a lot of reading about Time in the last couple of years (for a piece in development in my mind) and I discovered an article by Michael Chabon about The Foundation for the Long Now. In it, he talks about how when he was a kid, they dreamed about the future, of all the rockets they’d invent or things they’d create. He talks about how children these days don’t really believe in the future – that the future for them means the inevitable destruction of the planet and the devolution of everything. He also talks about how becoming a parent made him believe in the future in a new way – that he has to believe there is a beautiful future for his kids.
I think I have to believe in a Theatre of the Future in order to regain my hope for it. I’m not sure what it could look like, however. My future envisioning skills have gotten rusty in recent years. If everything went well, what could the Theatre of the Future look like? How did we lose hold of it?

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