Sunday, July 04, 2010

On Being Controversial (In Context of Local Theater)

I have said, over and over, that the function of theatre is to entertain...and further, if a certain amount of education occurs as a sideline of that function, that's OK, too. However, theatre that is performed with education as it's first purpose is generally somewhat boring. To me, anyway.

At Sam Bass, our season used to consist of a comedy (or two) American classic drama...a mystery...a Shakespeare...and something "edgy." "Edgy," I know, is a pretty broad term. Plays we have done that fall into this category include "Come Back to the 5 and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean," "The Lesson," and "House of Blue Leaves," "Master Harold and the Boys"--anything that might make the audience feel a little uncomfortable, due to language, subject matter or presentation.

This time, in the current conservative climate, we are renting out the theater to another production company to do "The Last Days of Judas Iscariot," which is "edgy" in almost any sense of the word. The effort is spearheaded by Rob Morris, one of the former Youth Guild kids, and one of Jim's students, who is currently attending the North Carolina School for the Performing Arts. He has gathered a company of people he has known from Sam Bass, from school, and from his vast theatre network to do this awesome play.

I like being "edgy." I liked it when I was young, and I still like it. I'm the oldest person Rob cast in this show, and I can't tell you, Dearly Beloved, how honoured and...dare I say it...thrilled I am to be included! I am playing Mother Teresa, and, it appears, playing her more-or-less "straight." We start rehearsals tomorrow, so I shall have to see where Rob wants me to take this character.

It's exciting to be doing this, and to be working with all these kids. This is the kind of theater that makes me feel young!

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