I seem to be constantly confronted by theater professionals who are more or less annoyed by the prospect of structure. One time I was at a wedding reception, for crying out loud, and I got seated at a table with a really famous genius of the contemporary American theater who had directed a play I admired. He had deconstructed a well-known play but the essence of the original story was still there, and the artistry and strangeness of his interpretation was beautifully balanced within the original tale. When I told him so, he went into a drunken rage. "All that structure, all that story," he growled, pouring himself more wine. "What a nightmare."
"I love structure," I confessed. "I think it's beautiful."
"Yeah, the audience loved it too," he sneered.
OK, I condensed that conversation; there was actually more yelling and drinking involved. But the essence of the exchange is accurate: He was a great artist who looked down on structure and managed to admit that he looked down on the audience too.
Wednesday, April 01, 2009
Build the house, then decorate it
Playwright Theresa Rebeck likes plot and doesn't care who knows it. (LA Times/Adam Szymkowicz)