A fascinating headache but a headache nonetheless. Like any really good piece of theatre, there doesn’t appear to be an obvious right or wrong answer and after each conversation I’ve had or blog post I’ve read I’ve been stimulated but left with more questions than answers.
I’m sure I don’t need to recount the entire situation but check out the recent retraction episode on This American Life for more information.
On Monday, Daisey defended himself at Georgetown University. The Washington Post follows up on that event.
The blogosphere has exploded with some really interesting and impassioned discourse from multiple points of view in regards to truth, “theatrical” truth (and if there’s a difference) as well as details on Daisey’s instructions to Wooly Mammoth when originally presenting the piece.
Polly Carl on the nuances of the individual self and the performer self.
Alli Houseworth of Wooly Mammoth issues her audience an apology and gives some details regarding what Mike asked of the company during performance.
Cody Daigle at Acting Unlimited Inc. weighs in on performing the piece during this entire controversy. What is so thrilling to me about this post is watching theatre responding in real time to a current event.
Howard Sherman calls the entire event “a train wreck, media circus, artistic bombshell and teaching moment all bound up with a bright big bow of schadenfreude”.
Daisey is very clear on his own website “What I do is not journalism. The tools of the theater are not the same as the tools of journalism.” Whether I like the man or not, or like his approach and his decisions or not I do have to agree with him on this point.
What gives me the headache is that I ALSO agree with Sherman, “Yes, theatre is primarily a world of artifice, but it is also a world in which “truth” is valued, be it literal truth, emotional truth, what have you. In a place where we are normally are asked to suspend our disbelief, where that is an essential principle, we are also ready to believe wholeheartedly in fiction, where we willingly trust artists – and therefore, we do so even more when we’re presented with something represented as fact.”
Feel free to weigh in below. I’m off to take some Advil.