despair

Jen noted, on the phone, the increasingly frustrating transience of live performance. We live in an increasingly technologized and documentary world where any momentary Eminem radio freestyle can be instantly recorded and distributed over Soulseek as an MP3 ten years later, where the lightest creampuff sitcoms from the 80s can be released as DVD box sets. So much can be captured and disseminated with such ease. Except theater and dance.

Of course, the fleeting impermanence of live performance makes it more precious, rarer–remains its greatest unique value among other arts–but still. You put in so much work, for it to disappear. It hurts.

I responded by saying that I wouldn’t mind the performance itself disappearing. I’m more frustrated by the fact that I feel like every time I create a performance piece, I also have to create the desire for people to want to participate in a live performance piece as audience. The desire itself doesn’t just exist, not much, not in the same way as the hunger to watch a movie or listen to music.

Every time a play ends, the desire, for the most part, ends too. If audiences retained the desire to see a play, the faith that it can be good–well, it would seem more worthwhile, and not like I’m starting up the hill with the big rock again, every time I start again.*

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