Wednesday 14 April 2010

Lost in the transition

In my adult life, I have attended exactly two plays. I openly admit to this piece of philistinism. I find being acted at a little scary, and I have trouble suspending belief sufficiently to sink into the story.

That's why I found Roberta Smith's review of Red, a play about Mark Rothko currently being staged in New York, rather strange. Smith struggled with the play because although it's set in Rothko's studio, it didn't accord with her 20 years of visiting artists where they work.

As inexperienced as I am, I kind of feel that's a little bit like saying that Broadway Boogie Woogie doesn't look like a live jazz band. Theatre is artifice. That's the point.

For a comparative opinion, take a look at Stephanie Zacharek & Jerry Saltz's review-duet: a theatre and an art critic take on Red.


staplegun said...

That's fair enough - I'm the same but vice versa. I can't really get into this whole visual art thing myself. I only visit a gallery once a year at the most, usually because I feel I ought to. I mean, it's just some minerals stuck on a canvas.

There is one aspect though that interests me - the creativity from the person, challenging me to think outside the box - I'm not so interested in the resulting artwork that came out of that creative process. That's why I prefer an explanation of a work to 'the piece speaks for itself dahling'.

Or maybe it's about the quality. I can only recall 2-3 artworks that I've ever felt compelled to stand in front of for more than ten seconds. Maybe those two plays were badly written/directed?

Anonymous said...

i don't think saying 'theatre is artifice - that's the point' is true. It may represent fairly accurately a lot of theatre in this country, but that's not what it should be.