Thursday, January 29, 2009

some (winter) reading

I trend toward addictions.

Luckily, they tend to be addictions of the healthy variety. Earlier this year the addiction was Stoppard, and now the obsession seems to focus on Naomi Iizuka. It often takes me some time to discover the real reasons for any particular obsession that strikes my fancy. In preparation for a grad audition last weekend (more on that later) I’ve been doing a lot of rumination on the value of theater to prepare for that inevitable question “why do you want to go to school?” That very grad school question may have encouraged me along with Iizuka. Her work examines myths from classical to contemporary and seeks to intertwine the mythologies separated by time and place. The plays, at least to me, often illustrate the commonality of human existence whether placed in antiquity or in present day Hawaii.

To me, theatre’s nobility stems from its attempts to demonstrate our myths back to us. To hold a mirror up and show that we are part of a larger experience that spans generations and centuries. That nobility only works if you successfully impact your audience – if you don’t obscure the mirror or refuse to share its contents, and if you’re willing to accept whatever that image might be. It can still work when the hallmarks of theatre are absent. Conversely, it can be obscured by the technicalities of what equal a good theatrical performance by traditional standards.

Although she might not be your cup of tea - I’d encourage everyone to give a few of her plays a read. So far I’ve taken a look at the following although I know she’s written many more:

Polaroid Stories,
Aloha Say the Pretty Girls,
Language of Angels

Until the next obsession takes over,


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