Mitch SMith


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The danger in the proscenium.

Yes. It makes us chuckle, and it challenges us to expand ourselves.
But wait - the proscenium invites us to "suspend our disbelief."
Is that wise?
And what is the proscenium?
All thes little squares that pretend to talk to us like a human.
The scrolls, the books, the stages, the televisions, the computers.
All little squares.
From the front, all prosceniums are glitter, and purity and glamour.
But behind - there lies the gaffa tape and string and canvas and bits of wood with jagedy nails and hasty cuts.
The performer sees all the guts he wove into magic to decieve you. And you think you were being entertained, but you were not just being entertained - you were being programmed .. you fell under the magician's glamour and, in your suspension of disbelief .. well, he took coins from your pocket and programmed you to come back to give him more.
And then he runs away and hides behind the word "art" and his only art is deception.. And in your disbelief - you take that for virtue?
OK - keep doing that - you belong to the magician.
Shame you never found real magic .. outside of the little box you have been put in.
Please discuss?

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    Apr 6 2012: The Proscenium is just the frame to a work of art. Should the work be built with "fake magic" or truth that's the style and the technique of the creators at hand. I've been working in theater over 30 years and I call the space between the Proscenium and the audience (what might be called the orchestra pit or pit area) I call that "The Great Unknown!" I call it that because the creators throw their creation out into "The Great Unknown" and they never really know what will come back. The magic that is created is "real", but how far does the creation go? That depends on the creators. I've seen the bravest of souls deliver the most honest and truthful creations in the smallest of spaces for the smallest of audience, but it was truthful. Yes, sometimes it's a deception, but if it's done right, it's truth. Either way it might not be theater to you or me, but it's theater to someone.
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      Apr 10 2012: Hey Tom, I love the idea of teh pit being "the great unknown" .. I'll think on that a bit!

      For myself, the work seemed all about getting teh performance off the edge of the stage - and shattering the fourth wall so the audience might enter the room we created for them. As a performer/tech I found Live theatre and musical performances are similar, but with some small differences - theatre is all about projecting to the back wall, being larger than life .. the flow is from the audience into the play (under the guidance of the players) .. with music it's more about setting up an emotional feedback loop .. either way, the magician's art is to conduct the energy back and forth across the proscenium.

      My intent with this post was to get some light on the potential power of the proscenium - and how it works .. few artists would set out to hurt the punters in the process of sharing their magic, however, the opportunity of reprograming has become somewhat dark at the hands of governments and businesses .. knowing how it works might help people regain some disbelief they should not have suspended .. perhapse some awareness will arrise where we can draw an accurate line dividing what should be suspended, and what should never be suspended.

      Mostly my concern is the alarming rise of the fake-conspiracy industry (a division of Fear&Control Inc.). IT is also disheartenning to see the informed-skeptic movement being overwhealmed by the cover-and-lie brigade.

      I heartily recommend everyone trash their televisions and make big monumental minaretts at the gates of every town .. it would indicate that disbelief is not up for grabs in that town .. (perhaps some people were programed to disbelieve the Taliban had any value .. I wonder how that happened? ;)
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    Apr 6 2012: Great question... I have to say, I think it depends on the Magician, and what he's programming you with. While there is a part of me, who thinks that most art, rhetoric, and entertainment, are designed to take money away from productive and usefull individuals, to distribute it to people who talk for a living... I think I land on the side of the, "the theatre, is a wash"... It's yin and yang.

    In the right hands, the proscenium can inspire even the most despairing individual to greatness... but it can also try to convince humanity that Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan have something important to say... The theatre is the human mind incarnate, it is one of our greatest, and most terrible weapons.
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      Apr 10 2012: Nice comments David.

      Heh - if "the theatre is a wash: .. does one feel cleaner having been through it?
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    May 1 2012: For an excellent example of the proscenium just go to Las Vegas, Nevada. People will go to "Sin City" get screwed and have one heck of a good time . Such a good time that they return every year. I know this to be a fact because I am one of them. I am always amazed at all the tourists (My self included) who will take pictures of the glitz and glitter, the unending facade and think they are actually in "OZ".