It was brought to my attention last week that I was talking about theatre criticism as a collaboration between theatre artist, critic, and spectator without really exploring what that means. I touch on the relationships between these types of people a bit in the article on The Separation of Art and Critic, but I think it might be useful for us to explore this a little more. After all, when you go to the theatre, you’re going to be (at least) one of those three things every time; don’t you think it’s better to know what you’re getting into?Continue reading
This Dark Day Monday I’d like to lean back into a more theoretical query: what is the end of theatre? I’m being deliberately vague (not to mention pretentious) about this question, because it lets me explore a few boring assumptions about theatre in an interesting way. This question has two distinct meanings that I’d like to unpack. Obviously, both questions could be answered, “The answer to that is incredibly personal, and will be different for everyone.” But that’s boring too.
What are community voices, anyway? This is a new section of NOC devoted to giving space to people who normally live in the background of the conversation around art making and art criticism a dedicated place to speak.
The critics panel last week at undercurrents Festival had some interesting discussion about the future of arts journalism. I am going to take this opportunity to further flesh out some of the emerging trends that were discussed at the conclusion of the panel. Principally, I want to talk about our long-form brand of criticism, in contrast with the future of legacy media arts coverage that Ottawa Citizen’s Lynn Saxberg foresees (I just learned the term “Legacy Media” this week from a great CanadaLand Commons podcast. It basically means “types and styles of media that existed before the internet got useful”).
I’ve been talking for weeks now about what the critical landscape currently looks like in this country, what the New Ottawa Critics thinks it’s trying to accomplish, and the theory behind that. Now it’s time to talk a bit about how exactly we are hoping to address some of these issues. So this edition of DarkDayMonday is going to have a bit more of a practical focus than usual.
Undercurrents festival has for two years now included events with Indigenous creators and stories. Last year’s Indigenous Performance Reaching Critical Mass one-off panel celebrated the NAC’s decision to expand its mandate to include an Aboriginal theatre stream along side it’s French and English departments, while also reminding us that there is still and always will be more work to do. This year, the festival features a regular event Indigenous Walks, a guided walking tour of downtown Ottawa through Indigenous eyes.
Scarcity culture is the persistent systemic feeling that there’s not enough of something to go around. In theatre, that usually means one of two things. In the first place, usually from the mouths of artists: there isn’t enough audience for their work. In the second place, usually from the mouths of people who consume art: there isn’t enough good art being made.
There is a cultural phenomenon called Burning Man. Ten days of “radical freedom” in the Nevada desert, an economy of gifts, a massive party, fantastic art installations. This show is about that, but only so far as it’s a setting for the competing and overlapping narratives that form the collective cultural memory of Burning Man.
Brotherhood: The Hip Hopera is a powerful solo show that blurs the boundaries along the edges of theatre to incorporate elements of R&B, rap and musical performance to tell a classic story of brotherhood, escape from poverty, and redemption.