Theatre Talk June 28th – All human systems are a trash fire

TLS Theatre Talk Tuesday – June 28th

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What we’re reading and watching this week: All human systems are a trash fire

trash_fireIt’s been a tough couple of weeks since our last blog post, notably the mass shootings in Orlando and the Brexit situation. It’s easy to be disheartened by these global events, but it’s also true that it’s just part of a process, one that unfortunately is so messy, it can swallow us whole. Blogger Lane Becker nails it in his article, noting that all human systems are an enormous trash fire. As soon as one issue is resolved, the flames kick up and the fire rages higher somewhere else in the pile, never really being able to be put out. It reminded us of the cogent piece in the Guardian years ago, about how we’re all just winging it all the time really, from priest to president; all institutions are on the edge, hoping it will just work out. We are surprised when it doesn’t, but we shouldn’t be. We have a desire to believe in our institutions, in our authority figures, that we are safe, protected, but as those living in even more volatile times in history would tell us, the truth is that nobody really has a clue what is going on. This is perhaps why improvisation has a special place in our hearts. An improvisation journey helps humans be more open, honest, aware and capable of change. The truth is we all have to wing it, but maybe improvisers can wing it just that small bit better, because we practice change all the time.

All artists have special powers, when executed correctly, to shine the light on just one section or area of this global burning trash fire, to let audiences see specific ways in which the fire is burning. Maybe even have a guess about who lit the fire in the first place, or the last time someone threw more garbage on the pile. We are standing in the middle of that trash fire, sweating. We can’t see exactly which part of the fire will kick up next, which causes insecurity and worry for the current generation. Will we be Trump-eting Brexiters, or will be the generation who pushed back against the intolerance and small-mindedness these movements represent? TLS is considering all of our options for next season to shed light on themes like oppression, racism, sexism, identity, which represent the current zeitgeist. We will continue our mission of offering audiences opportunities to question themselves, their politics, their ideas about identity, and moral arguments of right and wrong. This July’s reading of Laramie Project has taken on a special significance after the shootings in Orlando, because we can see that while we would love to think that the fire is waning, prejudice towards people who are LGBT rages out of control, much to our horror and dismay. We want to be the firefighters Becker describes so eloquently:

Once you recognize that all human systems are enormous trash fires, you stop trying to figure out how to switch to a system that isn’t an enormous trash fire, since they don’t exist. Instead, you ask better questions about your current trash fire. Like, “Am I doing everything I can to contain this enormous trash fire, even though I know it will never go out?” “Do the people in charge recognize that this whole place is an enormous trash fire?” And, most importantly, “Am I surrounded by a team of firefighters or a team of arsonists?”

Eventually you even start to appreciate the beauty of it. How impressive it is that we manage to get anything done at all, given how completely trash everything is, and how on fire it is all the time. How good it feels when you manage to put out even a tiny piece of it. How lucky we are that we get to try, even as the world burns all around us.

For TLS improvisers:

  • This month’s special jam will feature longform improv duos. Players with more experience will be paired up with players have haven’t been improvising as long for a special duoprov jam. This jam is open to guests, especially ones who aren’t huge fans of the football. There’s time for both events friends, so please join us!
  • The Lisa Rowland workshop on Energized Starts and Embodied Environments is on Saturday July 9th. There are still 5 few spots left, so make sure one of them is yours. Lisa will also be playing with Rebel Chicken at the Circus on July 2nd.

For TLS actors:

For TLS fans:

  • The Shape of Things was a great success. We welcomed about 70 audience members over the weekend, with two lively discussions on the nature of art and love. Pictures to follow shortly.
  • The Laramie Project will only be performed on Friday, July 22nd, so booking a seat is highly recommended. Please also remember to cancel a reservation, should you not be able to make it, so we can offer your seat to another guest.
  • Speaking of pictures, the complete album of The Underpants  photographed by Kate Miller is now available online.