12 November 2012

Entrainment is the Enemy of Art

[NOTE:  Here's yet another draft that's been sitting around, waiting to be published. I've held back because this is pretty grumpy, even for me. I feel I should add a disclaimer to stuff like this: This isn't the final word. My opinions and attitudes are constantly evolving. This is just where I was back in June of this year. Fortunately, only about three people ever read this blog.]

Entrainment is the Enemy of Art.

Or, to put it another, William Blake-esque, "Proverbs of Hell" way, "Entertainment! Not Entrainment!"

First, a reading:

vb (tr)

3. (Life Sciences & Allied Applications / Zoology) Zoology to adjust (an internal rhythm of an organism) so that it synchronizes with an external cycle, such as that of light and dark
entrainment n
Now, a hymn:

I want to be different, like everybody else I want to be like I want to be just like all the different people I have no further interest in being the same, because I have seen difference all around, and now I know that that's what I want I don't want to blend in and be indistinguishable, I want to be a part of the different crowd, and assert my individuality along with the others who are different like me
And to conclude, the sermon:
This is my "personal" blog, i.e. not the theatrte blog (whose name I'm omitting so as to avoid the Googlebots). The theatre blog has taken on a life of its own. People actually read it now, and so I'm beginning to feel that I can't be as candid as I used to. That's a sad thing for me, because it has always been a place where I can honestly say what's on my cranky, cantankerous mind. In short, the entrainment has begun. Oh, I'm not a part of the clique--and there is a theatre clique in this town. Every subculture has its cliques, its cool kids; its criminals, basket cases, jocks, brains, and princesses. But I am on the, if you will, "fringe" of the local theatre subculture. And somewhat like the little kid who noticed that the Emperor was buck-ass naked, I find myself biting my tongue at what has become an annual circle jerk-cum-theatre festival. No pun intended. People will have their fun, and people will be entertained. Of course they will, and this is good. At the same time, I can't help but roll my eyes at the complete and utter failure of yet another theatre organization to live up to its name. In this particular case, it's the "fringe" part of a particular festival whose name I'm also ommitting so as to avoid the Googlebots. Please open your Wikipedias to the entry on "Fringe theatre". Thus spaketh the crowd-source:
Fringe theatre is theatre that is not of the mainstream. The term comes from the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, which name comes from Robert Kemp, who described the unofficial companies performing at the same time as the second Edinburgh International Festival (1948) as a ‘fringe’, writing: ‘Round the fringe of official Festival drama, there seems to be more private enterprise than before’. The term has since been adopted by the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and thence by alternative theatres and alternative theatre festivals.
"Not of the mainstream." "Alternative." Granted, in this town any live theatre is the "fringe" of mainstream entertainment. But that's not the point of a fringe festival, now is it? There are some daring souls making some daring theatre, but the fringe moniker is largely innacurate, and is the sort of myopic ego-stroking that turns me off from the theataaaaah. "Look how risky we are! We have swear words and/or violence in our play!" And don't get me started on the one-person shows. Don't even get me started.

But so long as people are being entertained, what do I care? 

Yes, what do I care indeed.  Hence, posting this here rather than over there.  The fact is, I don't fucking care.  It hits me in cycles, I've observed.  I joke about how my relationship to theatre is just like Chaplin's in Limelight.  "I can't stand the sight of my own blood, but that doesn't stop it from pumping through my veins."

In my case, I can't stand the theatre, but that doesn't stop me from pontificating about it.  Or maybe, finally, I just can't stand the theatre.