Monday, May 7, 2007

On Finals & Controversy

by Kane Anderson
May 4th, 2007

So today I took my last two finals. If you haven't had to combine two graduate school finals together in one day, I suggest avoiding it. They burn.

Anyway, I was asked why my blogs are so complementary of my castmates. Well, the first answer is that it would be grossly unprofessional to post blogs that are mean and heartless and sardonic on the Actors Theatre blog (but ask about my personal blog if you like that sort of thing). The second and perhaps more genuine answer is that I do truly like and respect everyone in this cast and crew. As intern guy, I have that unspoken inferiority complex that any minute my colleagues may snap their fingers and ask me to fetch them coffee (just try it Cale...) but that's just my own madness. Everyone here has been great. So there.

What has been weird-for me at least-is the reaction some people have to The Pillowman. Yes, it's got a mature audiences label and some controversial issues arise. And sometimes this has led to discussion about the responsibilities of the artist. Should we be hyper-conscious about the social implications of our chosen productions? Should we worry about the reactions stemming from what we present (or represent!) onstage?

I don't think so.

I'll spare you the arguments from Plato and Aristotle but I think we can make art for art's sake. In the play, writer Katurian suggests that the only duty of a storyteller is to tell a story. And it's true. With The Pillowman, we are bringing a story to an audience. And it's not a story like you have heard before. That's a rare contribution to make as an artist. What is exciting about Actors Theatre is that they tackle some wild topics without hesitation. This company hungers to tell stories that are sometimes confrontational, sometimes unpopular and sometimes bizarre but all of the plays are good stories that are worth sharing. Next season features more daring work-and some of may make The Pillowman seem tame. I believe that what an audience takes from my work is hopefully some entertainment and some new thoughts about the world around them. Any story that can do both is worth sharing.

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