Do you wonder what plays are even for? Do give this article by LA Times theater Critic Charles Mcnulty a good solid read. He expresses what I’ve been feeling and saying my responsibility as a playwright might be, ever since November 2016, if not before. Some favorite bits:
More than telling us what to think, theater artists retrain us how to think by jarring us out of our calcified patterns of understanding. Habit, Beckett said, is a great deadener, and the mind is the first to go. The 2016 election was worrying for a number of reasons, none more so than for the way it threw into relief the widespread deterioration of critical reasoning. Drama, the art in which perspectives are brought into collision, is a powerful antidote to the sophistry and sensationalism nullifying our capacity for intelligent debate.
Identifying with characters who are both like us and not like us, whose individual qualities turn out to be a subset of the universal, is a necessary corrective to the solipsistic ruts that human beings regularly fall into. Empathy is a muscle that must be regularly exercised, and there’s no better gymnasium than the theater to keep it from atrophying.
And more power to those who want to appeal to Trump loyalists in an attempt to, if not convert them, at least respectfully grapple with their convictions.