Sunday, June 20, 2010

Culture and boredom


Mound of Butter, Antoine Vollon


Earlier I spoke of boredom as my greatest ally. Now I would like to advise you that each time you go to the theatre and you are bored, not to hide it, not to believe that you are the guilty party, that it is your fault. Do not let yourselves be truncheoned by the beautiful idea of 'culture'. Ask yourself the question; 'Is there something missing in me or in the show?' You have the right to challenge this insidious idea, socially accepted today, that 'cuIture' is automatically 'superior'. Naturally, culture is something very important, but the vague idea of culture that is not re-examined, renewed, is an idea used like a truncheon to prevent people from making legitimate complaints.
What is even worse is that culture is becoming considered like a fancy car or the 'best' table in a good restaurant, as an exterior sign of social success. This is the basic concept of corporate 'sponsoring.' The principle of the 'sponsor' is a miserable one. The only fundamental motivation for a sponsor of a theatrical occasion is to have an event to which he can bring his clients. This has its own logic, and as a consequence the performance must conform to the idea they have of culture: that it be prestigious and reassuringly boring. 

Peter Brook, There are no Secrets, Thoughts on Acting 
and Theatre, Methuen Drama, London, 1993

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