Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Parable of the Reader's Theatre
Parable of the Reader's Theatre
We're looking good. I have some thoughts on the Reader's Theatre, but the very concept of theatre is a communal experience or ritual. There is no way the individual can survive in theatre, even the greatest "one man show" is far from a one man show--the "one man show" needs the technical crew, light man, sound man, director, stage manager, costume, make up, house man, promotion team, advance man, bookkeeper, etc. So there is no one man show.
Toward A Reader's Theatre
in memory of Quentin Easter,
co-founder Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, SF
This is a peripatetic theatre, a way to teach literacy and literature. It is a restoration of the oral tradition, as ancient as the Nile River and the mighty waters of the Congo. The Academy of da Corner Reader's Theatre is classic guerrilla theatre, on the move, striking here, there, unannounced. It is theatre of the people, dealing with critical issues, life and death matters of the heart, soul and body, offering radical solutions always, revolutionary solutions, no Miller lite here. No soft shoe, no shuffle. This is raw dope, uncut, paramedic theatre. We went there in the Black Arts Theatre, Black Educational Theatre and Recovery Theatre, especially. People cried like they were at their mama's funeral, crocodile tears. No suit and tie theatre, this is butt naked drama, no sittin still but run out to the street screaming at the reality of their lives in the mirror.
This is surgery for the broken hearted and broken minds. There must be detox and recovery from addiction to colonialism and neo-colonialism. It is theatre of action, of healing, recovery and discovery. Who are you and what is your purpose? Why are you breathing precious air, drinking precious water? What is love? What is the self? What is communal? What is time? What is history? What is infinite? What are the possibilities of life?
What are these roles we play as sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, lovers, husbands, wives, elders, ancestors? What is the music and dance in the silence of the wind? The actor must prepare himself/herself before appearing on stage. There is a prepping, a meditation, a oneness with the wind. This is not theatre of ego. It is theatre as healer, as doctor in the house, but the doctor must heal himself/herself. Don't come on stage sick to death with ego. The people don't want to see ego, they want to see themselves to heal themselves, don't make them sicker than they already are. To heal is to show compassion, love and patience.
In short, this Reader's Theatre is a continuation of our most ancient dramatic tradition, from that Nile Valley Osirian drama of resurrection through the revolutionary black arts, to recovery theatre of the present era. We shall perform in public and secret, in the city and in the country, in the woods, in the forest, among the trees, hills and quiet waters, but also on the street corner, in the ally, jail, prison, dope house, hoe house, your mama's house!
We are the guerrilla, ever on the move, jabbing, stabbing, hitting, running, appearing, disappearing, the shadow, the ghost, the mirror on the wall.