Outdoor Dramas, and why I’ll never write the damn book.

That last post was supposed to be a short aside, and I didn’t even get into a lot of things I wanted to say.

So before I forget: Four major variables determine an Outdoor Drama: the values it desires to promote; the historical story it uses to present those values; the theatrical means by which it communicates the historical story; and the relationship of the theater with its locality.

Can you imagine? Each separate variable had such a wildly diverse expression at every play I went to, that the synthesis of all four variables per play created 27 totally disparate animals. Each event was so unique, that there wasn’t even a single way to tell every story.

The things I didn’t write about below:

  • The many ways they do actually paint white boys red
  • The narrative pretzels Outdoor Dramas twist themselves into trying to make everyone the good guy so that neither whites nor the people they oppressed are offended (though of course, that in itself is offensive)
  • Reasons that so many Outdoor Dramas and pageants emerged in communities post-World War II (e.g., Legend of Rawhide)
  • The phenomenon of Greater Tuna
  • John Rollins Ridge, and the mythical outlaw Joaquin Murrieta
  • Recent innovations of historical museum curation and presentation
  • The story told to me by the former head of the Institute of Outdoor Drama about companies whose business was to stage pageants for towns, and his job at a tobacco town

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