Shine on your play

14 Oct

Every play is a hook on which to hang a masterpiece.

I’m not talking about the process of taking a play from page to stage. I’m talking about our responses to plays.

Recently a friend asked ‘What do you say in the foyer on opening night when the play you’ve just seen is horrible?’

Say it’s wonderful and drink more champagne.

Why does it matter what you think? (The exception to this is if the play is promoting something evil. In that case have even more champagne – then confront the people responsible.)

I’m not suggesting you have to like everything. You can think plays are poorly executed. You can think they’re downright incompetent.

But, remember, artists are not offering themselves up for assessment. Or only the worst are.

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In a society that rightly prides itself on its pluralism, we should be asking ‘What is this trying to say?’ Or, perhaps more importantly, ‘What is this trying to give?’

(You don’t even need to ask ‘What is this trying to do?’ thinking this is the fairest way to judge the play on its own terms. It’s not asking to be judged at all.)

Let’s not turn art into a competency test. Let’s not have our basic response be “Is this good enough?” Good enough for what?

The ‘masterpiece’ I began this essay speaking of is the ability to take ourselves – our ego and our career ambitions – out of the equation. I call it a ‘masterpiece’ because it’s so difficult.

A work of art is a sharing.  Don’t ask merely ‘Was this presented well enough?’ Don’t even ask ‘Is it true?’

Ask ‘In what ways is this true as well?’

Because it is. Accept the gift, and become richer.

Veronica Kaye

(Image is Paul Gilchrist being shone on.)

One Response to “Shine on your play”

  1. Liz Arday October 14, 2012 at 4:47 am #

    Reblogged this on The Factotum Blog and commented:
    Wise Wise Words.

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