Today, a committee of which I am a part will discuss a paper about the nature of theater, a very thoughtful paper written by a colleague. Her point, written with resolve and more than adequately resourced, is that theater, as art, is most itself when it challenges the status quo, when it makes us think, when it pushes us to new understandings of self, and art, and social issues--when it pushes us to have to see life itself in new ways. The best theater, she asserts, is always cutting edge. It's a convincing paper.
This weekend we attended a play put on in the clubhouse of a local golf course, a dinner theater presentation of Arsenic and Old Lace, staged by some local folks who annually get together for a long weekend run of some goofy comedy. The cast was wonderful, as notable for their beef as their enthusiasm. Not a one of them got paid, I'm sure. Seems to me they were up there performing for two reasons--first, because they enjoyed it; second, because their friends enjoyed them enjoying it.
This play, in the corner of a golf course clubhouse, didn't challenge my politics. It didn't make me rethink my worldview or somehow test my too comfy sensibilities. It was just plain fun, and would have been even more of a ball had I known the cast, as most everyone else in attendance obviously did.
Was it art? Don't know. Probably not. Later today, I'll ask the professor.
But this morning I'm thankful for community, for those who build it, who give their precious time for it, who go to outlandish ends to bring their neighbors joy. Lord knows it warn't professional, but this morning I'm thankful to the Otter Valley Country Club Theater for their rollicking gift to building community.