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Randy Gener

Senior Editor and Digital Content Producer, Theatre Without Borders

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Time and time again we have seen that artistic modes and practices have advanced light years in the crucible of international encounters.

Time and time again, we have seen how artistic modes, aesthetic styles and theater practices have advanced light years ahead in the crucible of the international encounter. The Peking Opera had a great influence on Brecht’s concept of the epic theater. Eugene O’Neill expanded his vision as a dramatist by drawing his plots and structures from ancient Greek stories. The British director Peter Brook consistently drew from Persian, Afghan and African forms of theater to achieve his major Shakespeare breakthroughs. Where would Hollywood film acting be today if Stella Adler and Lee Strasberg never encountered the work of the Russian actor-director Konstantin Stanislavski and his Moscow Art Theatre? The late LaMaMa Ellen Stewart went from producing to directing because of her encounters with Croatian and Romanian theater (specifically, stage/opera director Andre Serban). In the hothouse of an international encounter, you never know what might result; it might be a revolution or a step forward or a life-changing event.

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    Apr 8 2012: What sort of response are you seeking from discussants? The idea that creativity ( and its tangible manifestations)benefits from interface among disciplines and at crossroads of cultures is well-accepted, I believe.
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    Apr 7 2012: Mega-exhibitions also perform a process of legitimation. That process engages with issues of cultural ownership, the politics of commissioning, and the nature of what the Obama administration has called “smart power.” The visual art world thrives in a silo that is isolated from theater design and architecture. Perhaps it is a standoff. Whatever the case, it has been impossibly difficult to find museums and galleries that would agree to tour USITT exhibitions of theater design in cities around the U.S. Our art institutions and curators have closed themselves off from the possibility of seeing theater design as equivalent to artworks. Ironically, more and more artists are turning to live performance and site-specific exploration, as can be witnessed in the Venice Biennale, to execute their ideas. Prague Quadrennial works to break that stalemate through a process of providing legitimacy to design as a practice (a doing), a production (a thing done, a thing that performs), and as a performance (a thing that acts). I see the process as very dramatic.