Weekly Howl on hashtag #newplay

"Realism: Friend and Foe"

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The Weekly Howl is a peer-produced, open-access discussion about theater culture and contemporary performance that happens in real-time on Twitter using the hashtag #newplay.*

Join us Thursday, July 25 for the Weekly Howl on hashtag #newplay at 11am PDT – 12pm PDT (Los Angeles) / 1pm CDT – 2pm CDT (Austin) / 2pm EDT – 3pm EDT (New York) / 18:00 GMT – 19:00 GMT / 7pm BST - 8pm BST (London) / 8pm CEST - 9pm CEST (Berlin). Click here for an automatic conversion into your local time.
 
This week's topic: "Realism: Friend and Foe"
 
Curated and peer produced by Jules Odendahl-James @BlueDevilDrama, resident dramaturg at Duke University. Co-moderation during the Howl by @MarkusRudgello.
 
On Thursday, get heard in the conversation by searching for #newplay in Twitter (sort by “all”) and by putting “#newplay” somewhere in your messages. Spread the word!
 
*The hashtag #newplay in Twitter is a commons tag (i.e. non-proprietary, community-invested tag) for aggregating global knowledge, information, and conversation related to new works, new performance, and new strategies in the theater.
 
Background:
In last week's Howl, the relationship between realism and political theater emerged as a point of interest/contention. This week's Howl expands on that intersection to explore the different facets of realism (versus accepting it as a monolith) in American theater particularly. While realism is synonymous with the "well-made play", its influences are felt far beyond structure. Since my research and aesthetic interests focus on documentary domains, I'm also particularly interested how artists feel/see realisms' influences on historical and narrative truths, affect and ethics, the way audiences connect their material lives to those of characters they meet on stage, and political/social action. One recent article (2011) that explores some of these questions within the domain of documentary theater and might be of interest is from Suzanne Little, "In and Out of Tune with Reality: Opposed Strategies of Documentary Theatre".
 
The following questions, to start us off, are dedicated to the various strains/facets of realism folks see operating in theater performance today from acting style to directing and design vocabulary to playwriting structures and beyond.
 
  • How do you define realism? 
  • Does your own body of work fall in/outside of this category & how?
  • Why are we (or are we?) so enamored of realistic acting style and play structures in American theater?
  • What actors, directors, playwrights, and/or companies are experimenting with the expected tropes of realism in productive ways? 
  • How does (or does) realism unfairly influence critical and audience reception of new work?
  • What opportunities does realism provide or foreclose for performance/audience interaction and political action outside of the theater? 
  • What steps can we take to better inform audiences, critics, other artists about work that defies or redefines realism?

 

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