I am presently writing for the next issue of New York Theater Review. More like, I am trying to write. The medium feels totally alien to me. How do you write about the theatrosphere for a journal that won’t be published until this spring? I already need to ammend partially what I said three weeks ago in my State of the Union. But instead of blogging on this subject as I normally would, I will be writing on it for the journal instead. Despite the struggle, or because of it, I like the assignment and the small group of bloggers editor Brook Stowe has gathered to examine the subject.
At the crux of everything is the private v. public dilemma of how we represent “who we are” in our new digital medium. Primary to both my practice and exploration here at Rat Sass is how this new realm impacts on relationships with our peers in theatre. Those relationships then impact on how we produce theatre, as well as how we document and represent theatre to the rest of culture.
Of course I am interested personally in George Hunka and Leonard Jacobs when I explore what they write in their blogs because they are both active members in the theatre community beyond their writing. However, I only comment on their public personas, not their private lives, as I attempt to catergorize the New Georges of the Theatrosphere. My investigation is how the New Georges impact and interact with my own public persona and with the representation of the theatre blogging/theatre community to which I belong.
I write and talk privately to some peers within this exploration. I also write similarly on different semi-private theatre listservs. And ultimately I also post on this blog as part of the study. An understood aspect of the dialogue at all these places is trust, and its converse, risk. I risk a private or semi-private email to you and I trust you will not use it against me. Or I risk an honest public blog post (as George did) even though it may ostracize or divide me from the whole or part of the theatre community — at least temporarily. So there are different levels of trust and risk at each of these places.
I usually discuss most of the dialogue at all these different places with Gabriele, my partner in life and theatre, and my writing editor, in whom the trust/risk public/private converge. Our individual or joint public risks in theatre have the safety of the private trust we have built over many years between one another and our closest friends and peers (our theatre). The interaction of this trust/risk within the community is what theatre means to me.