Friday, 20 May 2016

Treading Carelessly: Introduction

R Mutt, part III
Before I begin to pontificate, let me remind you: I am wrong. The complexity of any issue beyond a star rating ensures that my opinions will fail to represent any notional truth. Having said that, here's my latest...

I don't believe that the arts are an uncomplicated good. I am not even sure that state funding is an uncomplicated good. In the years of Tony Blair, when the government wasn't going to war, abandoning social justice (could it be that the rise of the social justice warrior is an extreme response to the failure of mainstream politics to include a socialist perspective?) or looking pleased with its electability, it threw cash at the arts. 

The arts were instrumental, not an end in themselves. That is, the arts were supposed to 'make society better'. Well, I'll come back to that.

I probably don't care for instrumentalism. I don't want the arts to make society better. I want them to make me better, and that's not the same thing. And when I say 'me', I mean individuals. How very Thatcherite of me.

When I go to the theatre, I want to be challenged. It's why I wish more theatre presented obnoxious opinions, right-wing politics - anything that I don't believe. It's not the whole story, but if only I could be... insulted.

Without making any critical assessment of the work or the artists (I haven't seen the show), 27 was low of my list of priorities, because I have been a 27 year old male and I know something of what it is like. On the other hand, when I saw Gregor at the clown cabaret, I gulped, because his antics might be me on a Saturday Night in Glasgow. Hell, I'm a balding grotesque Lothario clown, all macho posturing and sentimentality. It was like looking in a mirror.

I pause to allow the contradiction to sink in.

Here begins a series of thoughts on what theatre is for

I am not saying 27 is a bad work, nor that it lacks value. Simply that it does not conform to some ill-conceived thought on my part about why I go to theatre.

This is subjective, and a working out of something that I can't yet articulate. 

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