Monday, December 17, 2007

Isolationism

When attending an international theatre festival, as I just did, even one whose purpose is to promote a specific nation's theatrical output, it was illuminating to meet theatre practitioners from so many other countries.

I became friends with artists and producers from Hong Kong and Kenya, Serbia and Nigeria, Hungary and Sweden, Germany and Slovenia, Estonia and Turkey, Australia and the U.K.

Many of our concerns are the same: how to keep live theatre relevant in an electronic entertainment age, how to prevent government support for the arts from disappearing, how to balance programming that fills the seats with work that is meaningful and substantive.

America is famously ignorant about the rest of the world, and I'm afraid that as much as I have prided myself on keeping abreast of what's going on abroad, I was shocked to discover how little I really know and how provincial I truly am.

The festival was a refreshing wake-up call that has prompted my interest in the world of theatre beyond the U.S., and I'm working to broaden my knowledge of what's being produced beyond our borders.

At a time when, thanks to globalization, we are perfectly willing to embrace the awareness of brand names we'd never heard of previously, I think it's time for us to welcome warmly other nations' cultural "products" as well.

Until next time...

Rick

1 comment:

Robert said...

Rick, what festival was it?

I've gone to many international festivals - just came back from one in Bucharest in fact. Others in Hungary, France, Finland, Berlin, Sibiu. I always leave exhilarated.

Robert Cohen
cohen@uci.edu