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Monday, April 11, 2011

THEATRICS?

Lately I've been mulling my limited role in theater these days. The most recent book that compelled me to read it in its entirety is David Mamet's "Theater". Other than his almost-child-like belief in "free market economics" and rants against Soviet/leftist directors and theater (including Brecht), there were quite a few interesting and pertinent thoughts conveyed in the voice of a master playwright. Right now, the play "Hapgood" by Tom Stoppard has me engrossed.

Due to tight finances and high gas prices, actually going into the city to see something is a rare event. (Forget about the bus -- it's $60+ round trip for the hour and ten minute each way trip,)  Will anything spurting from my pen these days ever make it to the boards? Well, hope springs eternal and all that.

My point is that my interest, obsession even, that once seemed to kindle my every waking moment, has ebbed. Aside from the administrator-perceived negatives of my less-than-upper-crust background, and  the so-called "free market" in the theater -- there is to me an uplifting reason why the burning desire to be recognized by the world as a playwright is now a smoldering ember: my efforts as a bandleader give outlet to many of the same energies.

Playing out with the band is putting on a show. We dress in costume (seersucker suits and Panama hats), we perform, and like the best theater -- we take a bare empty space and fill it with entertainment. JJ Peppers works with me to make sure the "visuals" (his terms) are strong. In other words, when we set up as a band, it's a stage set of sorts. Some of the songs are written by me. The order in which the songs are played is my choice. The patter between tunes is mine to speak.

My point? Some might take issue with the title of this blog and think "Yeah? What's he written lately?" -- a question that is irrelevant in the current clime of American theater. What is relevant is that my status as a showman is intact.

Come see Uke Jackson & the Ginseng Roots Band and see if you agree.

2 comments:

  1. Theatre only requires a performer and an audience.It can be in any physical space.

    Professor Don Sobolik taught that in my first university class. We were required to produce several performance reports during the course of the term. They could be plays, musicals, dance, or musical theatre. They could also be street performers, a couple fighting in the park or other 'found' theatre.

    As set and lighting designers, we now create theatre when we design restaurants, museums, themed retail spaces of architainment.

    Theatre is everywhere.

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  2. Hey, loser, you owe me the $20 I "lent" you for a massage on University Avenue in Berkeley back in the day. Bad karma, baby.
    Lee

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