I found this recent post by David Dower interesting and problematic for a couple of reasons. I don’t know David well, though we’ve got lunch in the past and are co-workers in the movie theater. I am happy he found a new post at Arena Stage in DC that he seems compelled by, and I am glad he’s blogging. While I’m at it, I’ll dissent on some other engagement.
I’ve stayed out of the slug-fest this is the Olson-Daisey chain. I’m not going to link it, that’s how much I’m keeping out of it. Why? The whole conversation is stuck before and seems to burn up important energy for actually moving forward. Everyone is absolve to employ or not necessarily, but it must be said that this is part of how the position quo is taken care of.
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While I’ve already commented here publicly on how that conversation may not have been the most polite, it was at least an honest and full-throated collision between the viewpoints of theatre experts, and between administrators and artists. If it feels “stuck in the past”, that says something truthful about where the world happens to be maybe.
If more folks chimed along with constructive things to say, or built from the dialogue provided for you, perhaps something successful would happen. Or perhaps they have triggered reactions from others already, as I know they have, and been valuable that way. If it “burns important energy”, Let me see the involved conversations that are taking place online between administrators and performers that are so radiant that they make it superfluous. Point me to them, because I don’t see them occurring. The simple truth is, if it wasn’t a great discussion no one truly paid with time but myself and Mr. Olson.
But if most of us find it unappealing and distasteful and believe it has no value, it really is a selection for silence over engagement. The problem is not locked boxes for actor endowments or blowing up the buildings or turning more artists into administrators or whatever zero-sum proposal-du-jour causes a mini-stink in your blog and theater presses, (again, in my view). Mr. Dower has chosen to conflate two fairly compelling lines of inquiry (designer/administrator hybrids and lockboxed endowments for musician wages) with BLOWING UP BUILDINGS, or as it is more known in America commonly, domestic terrorism. David, do you truly mean to conflate these together? It’s insulting, and frankly, beneath you.
Judging from the fine quality of your writing during your site, and in this very post even, I could only believe some wish to quickly and expeditiously discredit two of the proposal by linking them with terrorism. It’s painfully cheap and transparent. The simple truth is that lockboxed endowments or artist/administrator hybrids are greater than a “proposal-du-jour” far.