review of the play.
I am drawn to all art forms, and particularly to theater, by its ability to take us on an emotional journey that teaches us about ourselves, our fellow humans, and our impact on one another and the world. I'm inspired by the a creative expression of authenticity, or the real, as singer-songwriter Stew so succinctly put it in the marvelous rock musical, Passing Strange, an homage to the artistic temperament.
"The real" touches, provokes, inspires, and moves consciousness forward. We may not like it, but we appreciate it, and we are changed.
The quest for the real: You can call it a sickness. You can call it a religion. I call it food. It's the nourishment on which artists live and the promise of it is the juice that keeps them going. Without it, they die. Does this sound dramatic to you? Precisely.
And this production strayed from "the real" in favor of entertainment. "Um, what's wrong with that?" a friend asked me. "What's wrong?! He beat the very soul out of the play in favor of cheap jokes!" I cried. Ahem, that is, he played up the comedy and lost the nuanced and emotional impact of the message. It entertains, but it doesn't move. And the sad part is, the story is meant to move.
But is anything wrong with choosing to entertain? When you can make an emotional impact in your art and decide not to, it is. As I watched the director make this choice over and over again during the rehearsal process, the artist in me was appalled.
The audience, however, will love it; the critics might, but he, like all artists, will have to answer to a higher power: The Real.
You're welcome to take me to task for not being real by publishing the review as Freelance Arts Writer, but my name appears in the program, and I have a rep to protect in this town. Don't tell anyone it's me.
*The review was originally publish on www.seattleperforms.com.