Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Tape Recorder Plays

It's Fringe Fest time in Toronto- a number of plays are being performed by local theatre troupes. Including this one- Talk Thirty To Me. The 'play' deals with various young people's thoughts and feelings upon turning thirty. But, that's not all! According to the website:

"Every word in Talk Thirty to Me is verbatim, based on over 100 hours of recorded interviews with 29 year olds, proving that the truth is stranger-and funnier-than fiction." And considerably less imaginative, no doubt.

My first question- why in God's name would anyone want to see this play?!- is perhaps very unfair.

So, let me just ask, with these "verbatim" plays, which seem to be all the rage these days, shouldn't the 'Dramaturge' credit go to the tape recorder? And shouldn't the 'playwright' really be called the 'transcriber'? And, instead of actors, couldn't we just let the tape player run on stage?

And is it really too much to ask that 'playwrights' show the slightest sign of creativity? I mean, really. I've already outed myself as that Philistine jerk who gets uncomfortable with even great photography being shown in Art Galleries. So, I'll admit that my heart sinks a little at the idea of tape recorder plays.

You know, it's not the narcissistic banality and creative flat lining of so much contemporary art and culture that bugs me; it's that we should be demanding more from art and we don't.

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