Photo by Lee Celano for The New York Times
Waiting for Godot in New Orleans has brought out the best in some of the writers bearing witness to it. I know. "Bearing witness" seems a tad heavy-handed, but, well . . . that's what it feels like when I read these reviews. Holland Cotter was the latest to join the chorus in yesterday's Times. I'm a fan of Cotter's, both for his writing and the spirit behind it. He really outdoes himself here though. This quote especially caught my attention:
"But Mr. Chan also wants to try out--everything is a tryout--a new story, as have other artists, Beckett among them, who feel they are living in a time of moral emergency."
It reminded me of something I had read just the day before in the The Believer's interview with Ai Weiwei:
"For those actors and directors who produce films which are always about the old kingdom or about heroes, you know about the fantasies related to the classics, but there is no real discussion about today's life and no discussion of the real conditions--which is really sickening."
It made me think of how Paul Chan and The Classical Theatre of Harlem's production stands in direct opposition to the artistic crimes to which Weiwei refers. As for the "moral emergency" Cotter mentions, I think that the Times scribe will be happy to see some of the upcoming projects that Anne Pasternak was talking about last night at the Creative Council holiday party. Let's just say that they'll be continuing down this path of looking very closely at where we're at, and what we've become. As the great Earth & Stone once sang, "False rulers of the world./They might beget a beating."