Also one devoted to theatre memes.
It’s good, though. I got some good articles out of this.
Which is actually about how curmudgeonly Jean-Jacques Rousseau is about theatre. However, there’s a lovely quote at the end:
In a series of remarkable works, starting with “Discourses” and ending with “Letter to d’Alembert” and “Reveries of the Solitary Walker,” Rousseau pursued the same wandering and disconsolate selves that the Harvard psychologists in turn sought to quantify, and blamed theater for much of their suffering. Staged productions representing life, he believed, distracted us from one another, and from ourselves. Theater replaces lived experience with vicarious experience and condemned participants to wander the sea of the non-present. “Nothing appears good or desirable to individuals that the public has not judged to be such,” he observed, “and the only happiness that most men know is to be esteemed happy.” Status updates and emoticons: Rousseau saw it all.
Then there’s a fantastic interview: The Q&A: Mohammad Al Attar – Writing as a tool of protest
Interview with a middle eastern playwright. Hearing about art in countries where creating any art at all is frowned upon makes me very happy. Here’s my favorite part:
People often criticise the lack of artistic output from the Middle East or Arab world. Do you think this is a fair criticism?
We have some great artistic figures in Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Morocco, Tunisia, Lebanon, but the arts are still not very strong. There is no culture of readership, which is a product of the totalitarian regimes in the region. It is not that these regimes target the arts, but the lack of a healthy, strong culture affects everything else. We have a great Syrian playwright, for example, Sa’adallah Wannous, but you can count on one hand how many of his plays have been performed in Syria. Sadly, with the exception of my work with juvenile prisoners and a street performance, I haven’t presented any of my plays in Syria. To put on a play is a long, complicated, collective process that needs funding and that is a struggle. Art breathes with freedom.
I really want to emphasise that it is not about a lack of talent. We have so many talented people in the region. During the uprisings in Syria and elsewhere we have seen so much art, and that is a very promising sign of the thinking and capacity that exists. I am optimistic that more young people will emerge as artists. If we achieve better situations in our countries in the near future, many things including art will improve.
Oh, and then there’s this: