I’ve been hearing about this a lot lately. Everyone is trying to make theater more intimate. And I’m not talking an assembly of people in a dark room, voyeuristically watching some MFA student pontificate existentialism or naked men f&@*ing.
I’m talking about one-on-one action as shown here , here and there’s even a festival about it here. That’s right Circuiteers, the latest craze in keeping butts in the seat is creating a one-on-one theatrical experience. It’s like the art of Marina Abramović who believes that theater is a fraud and since it’s not real, without real emotions from a realistic situation then why are we “making it?”
When I think of theater, I think of it in terms of entertainment-the edification of the Greek god Dionysus. So how do I feel about this new phenomenon? I think it’s down right gimmicky. Would I want a guy washing my feet dressed in a loin cloth? Not unless that guy is my man and there’s some suckin’ going on afterwards! *wink*
Theater’s survival is based on numbers. It’s show BUSINESS. Having a production with one person is not only expensive-it’s wasteful.
I’m all about having the audience experience theater in its most intimate of forms but the description of some of these experiences are more based on ones subconscious need to be touched and attended too-it’s more catering towards a patrons sensuality than theatrical intimacy.
Lyn Gardner of the Guardian UK suggests the exclusivity of being the “only” one able to experience the show is attractive which is why people participate. How entertaining can it be to sleep next to a perfect stranger or become uninhibited with someone you don’t know? Who’s the artist and who’s the audience? This is like a bad Kinsey experiment.
Apparently this has been going on since 2005. I guess I just never noticed it before. This hasn’t hit the-ever-slow-to catch-on trends in Chicago yet. I’m sure when it does-it will ignite like Smokey the Bear’s forest!
But I ask, when did we stop being theater practitioners and start being therapist? Art is beyond subjective, I don’t know if theater can survive in this genre. One-on-one performances are cute but in the end, they can’t survive.