More on Mills, and other stuff ~ theatre notes

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

More on Mills, and other stuff

The Wheeler Centre, aka the Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas, nicely asked me for another response to Jonathan Mills's lecture, so this time I went for something slightly more personal. It's up today on their site. And while you're there, you might want to check out the series of discussions the centre is hosting next month on arts criticism, provocatively titled Critical Failure: why arts criticism is failing us all. I'll be part of the theatre discussion, which is scheduled for September 8. Plenty to chew on there, though I'm hoping that it won't be me that's mostly being chewed.

Elsewhere in blogland, George Hunka posts some recondite statements about the dramatist's art from British playwright John Whiting, which are well worth a ponder. Once you get past the insistence on the masculine pronoun, the assumption that art is a job for "a man", there are some interesting points about the individual as opposed to the communal voice. And I hope you'e following Chris Goode's Edinburgh diary on his blog Thompson's Bank of Communicable Desire, as he rehearses and performs Tim Crouch's The Author at the Edinburgh Festival. And, being Goode, much other stuff. Someone said that they print out Goode's blog posts to read on the bus, which is, in fact, probably an excellent way to read them, especially given the uncertainties of Melbourne's public transport system.

Closer to home, Robin Usher reports in today's Age that the MTC could "do an STC" and appoint Oscar winner Geoffrey Rush as its new artistic director. I guess they could do a lot worse: and we all know Rush is a man of the theatre. But would he be interested, I wonder? One can't help suspecting the job is a bit of a poisoned chalice... And while I'm at it, let me point you to Jeff Sparrow's excellent comment piece on The Drum, which looks at the neo-liberal commodification of politics, and the concomitant panic about "authenticity": "Pro-wrestling makes a pretty good analogy for where we're at: an election is a product designed for TV, in which the wacky antics of assorted larger than life characters disguise how little's actually at stake. Welcome to the desert of the Real, as someone once said." Indeed.

10 comments:

Born Dancin' said...

I don't think Mr Usher was arguing for Rush as new AD - more discussing that possibility (which has been raised by others) and warning that it might not be the best path.

Alison Croggon said...

Changed "should" to "could". I don't think Rush would be a bad idea, not least because he does know and love theatre. Interesting to find myself agreeing with Usher for once: "There should be more to running such a prestigious company than keeping audiences happy, as important as that is, and the MTC has a lot of work to do to catch up with its peers."

Madeleine Flynn and Tim Humphrey said...

Great to see the series on arts criticism: tough to see that music/sound criticism didn't even rate on the radar to get a foot into the series of talks.

Alison Croggon said...

You're not alone - I hear that there have been complaints about that. Not sure of the details, but I think there's going to be a focus on music later in the program? Hoping someone from the Wheeler Centre might see this and elucidate...

Born Dancin' said...

BTW, I think descriptions of a possible Rush appointment as 'doing an STC' are a bit misleading, too - as far as I know, Rush has been quite engaged with non-mainstream theatre in Melbourne for quite a while, and does have a healthy sense of what goes on beyond Southbank. I think that's a fine prerequisite for an MTC AD, if true.

Alison Croggon said...

I totally agree. I'm also wondering what other names are being thrown into the hat? I guess speculation on this will go on for months.

Mother of Invention Acting School said...

I got excited about Tim Crouch from reading Chris Goode's blog. Then I saw Tim Crouch's piece Oak Tree in LA. It really wasn't good. So I am pretty skeptical about Chris Goode as a result.

Alison Croggon said...

Never sure what to say to "meh". I first met Chris Goode briefly as a poet in Cambridge when I was there in 2000, and only later caught up with his theatre work. I've only seen the work of either once. Crouch's work is, I agree, at least in part alienating (my response to England here), although that doesn't mean it isn't worth seeing. But I totally totally loved Goode's ...Sisters, a take on Chekhov. Still, whatever you think of the work of either - and it can't be accused of being unintelligent - Chris's blog is a stimulating read.

Chris Boyd said...

A good piece by Usher. Funny, really. I've been wanting to make a pitch for the MTC to do an STC of a rather different kind... by offering the AD-ship to David Whiteley and Kat Stewart.

In your dreams, Chris... in your dreams.

Mother of Invention Acting School said...

Alison: I take your point about how well Goode's blog is written. (That sounds funny! "...well Goode's blog is...") That's absolutely true. And that's great to hear that Goode's work is strong. I will definitely see it on your rec if I ever have the opportunity.