This is something I wrote for the NEFA National Theater Project blog, earlier this year. Mallory and I are working on a book now, about City Council Meeting, and I’ve been going over some of the critical and curatorial conversations that have been had about it, by us and others.
Please enjoy and disseminate as needed.
“Recently, in Keene, a philosophy and humanities professor we worked with on the project pushed me to articulate something to his students that he could not, in response to the ones who were bored, confused and uncomfortable with the piece. I think I was finally able to articulate what City Council Meeting is: it’s a community-engaged performance that brings people into a room, who might not get together, and asks them to perform together. It’s also a kind of Cagean, partly-adversarial experiment, created by three artists who wanted to try and see if we could pull it off.
To the professor, I said: in an age when people are constantly told that activism and purchasing are one in the same, asked to simplify themselves for the sake of tests, jobs, teams, and other activities, it’s a valuable thing to have an experience that is complicated and unresolved. It’s good to feel frustrated and confused by something that has been crafted for you to consider.
I think it’s important to support this kind of unruly work.”