Thursday, May 20, 2010

"Golden Age"

Michael Feingold makes an argument in the Village Voice argues that we're seeing another Golden Age in the theater. That's a nice and needed counterweight to, say, David Cote's post in the Guardian about the coming bloodletting in the arts. 99Seats-at-Parabasis asks if we agree with the Golden Age hypothesis.

I feel like I go from feeling like this is theater's Golden Age to feeling like this is theater's End of Days. The latter is clearly histrionic, but if you read Outrageous Fortune too close to bed-time you can have visions of the Four Horses. I see a show like The Lily's Revenge and I think, "Wow, look at what we are capable of." And then I see the derision around Nick Clegg's approval for Samuel Beckett, and I ask, "Has theater in America ever been more isolated from the rest of the population?"

Assessing the question "is this a Golden Age" requires a level of perspective that I don't think I'll ever have. I don't know if we're really living in a Golden Age, but I know that we are living in my Golden Age. From my perspective, I see a New York City that is thriving with new and exciting work. My graduating class is going into the world, and they're going to make some ass-kicking theater, and I'm just pleased as punch about it. But on the other hand, I can't tell if we're really going out there and doing something, or if we're just making Nero's fiddle music sound really good.

I do know one thing. Right now, there's a demographic shift going on; in the same way that the so-called Jon Stewart generation is taking over politics, there's a new wave of theatermakers making their mark.

I hope it gels into something really new. My thesis was an attempt to assert something past Post-Modernism. I think that's the moment when we'll be able to say something: when we've really created something that didn't exist before. And we won't know it until much later (which is what 99Seats was saying).

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