I went over to the Playwright’s last night to pick up my tarot cards and we ended up having a beer and discussing what art should do.
Because, you know, I only like those small easy questions…
Ha, no, one of the things that I love about the Playwright is that she’s got this idea that theater can be a mirror for the community and that having those kinds of mirrors–experiencing your story as worth being told–is really valuable.
And the Playwright is all over this–from Act Like a GRRRL to Faith/Doubt to this piece she’s working on about the Civil Rights movement here in town–she’s all the time taking ordinary people’s lives (ah, "Ordinary Heroes" is the name of that play) and teasing out the story worth having told.
The Playwright said "I think everybody’s life could be a movie, that everyone has had a life worth telling. It’s never occurred to me to think that only the hoity-toity artistic community had stories worth sharing."
On Saturday, when we were all sitting around listening to Michael Rosenblum talk about what a revolution we’re in the midst of, I got to thinking that it’s not just that everyone has access to the ability to tell their stories (and my god, if you want a great discussion of that part of it, get you to Kat Coble’s), it’s that there’s been a real shift in the last little bit about what stories are worth telling.
Think of how excited historians are to discover slave narratives or even the scope of the 9/11 project in which bloggers tell the stories of the victims of 9/11.
I don’t think we’ve given up on the stories of larger than life characters who do things the rest of us can’t do, but I think we’ve made room in our cultural landscape for stories about ordinary people and we’ve come to appreciate that those people’s "ordinary" lives are filled with worthwhile transcendent stuff.