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How Theatre Artists Become Essential, Part 2

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  1. Very well! Spread the word!
    One of the tragic aspects of last years public debate on heavy cuts in the arts funding here in The Netherlands is that these kind of reflections were totally absent. Too much has been taken for granted and even the art institutions just were unable too express their exclusive value.
    In many ways it is politically necessary for the arts now to socially reinvent themselves, explicitly legitimate their mere existence and meaning towards a growing number of ignorant people who tend to confuse arts and entertainment. Let’s hope or better: let’s make sure that schools again help to foster this notion of the grreat individual and social value of the arts.

  2. Elizabeth says:

    I have no doubt what you say is true, though I wish there were concrete examples one could point to when discussing this with others who may need a bit more convincing. For instance, it would be very helpful is we could specifically name a previously buried or mistrusted human impulse that was identified and transformed into credible behavior by art (while also naming the work of art that was key to this transformation, of course)?


    • Elizabeth,

      To give you a concrete example, we could use two examples. One being “Waiting for Godot” where two men are waiting for someone to arrive. This anticipation has often come to be interpreted as waiting for a deity to arrive and when he does not the existential philosophy undertones of the play open a discussion in our minds about the existence of any sort of higher being in our world. This play’s roots can be traced back to the godlessness of the Holocaust and the two World Wars with their bloodshed. Another example could be Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesmen” where the American middle class life is put under a microscope for the audience to see, react to, and hopefully change for themselves. Both of these examples could help you with understanding what Russell is getting at.


    • Thanks, Nick, for your examples – Elizabeth, do you mean a tangible example in terms of young people, for example – things that I have seen change due to their participation in an artistic project? Or do you mean something larger in scale than that?

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