Self-editing is overrated. Or is it?

Saturday, June 03, 2006

All right, do anyone have any comments? You, in the back, the one who is booing. Tell us what you're trying to say.

In rock'n'roll, there are very few rules. But one of the most important ones that I learned from my years in it was "Never throw anything into the audience that you would not want coming back at your face five times as fast."

A fairly fascinating entry in the Spoleto blog illustrates this point. It recounts a recent confrontation between world-reknowned choreographer/dancer Bill T. Jones and an audience member who did not like a performance of his most recent piece entitled "Blind Date".

Is this a good idea? To openly challenge those who don't like your work? A small excerpt lets you know the answers to those questions:

As lengthy applause faded, a shouted “Boo, boo!” filled the Sottile Theatre.
Bill T. Jones and the dancers of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company had just walked off stage.
Jones dashed back on.
“You come on down,” he shouted. “You come on down.”
When no one appeared, Jones called out again: “I dare you to come down.”
Of course that got a result. A silver-haired man approached the balcony’s edge.
Jones demanded an explanation. Another man in the uneasy audience milling about said, “Let it go. A statement was made,” then added a conciliatory, “It was great.”
Said Jones, “I know it was great.”
Shouted the silver-haired man, “I disagree. I’m giving you my message.”
“What do you disagree with?” responded Jones.
A choreographer named a MacArthur genius, Jones danced “Blind Date” in a suit, sometimes barefoot, often as counterpoint to a soldier, in a multi-media work clearly anti-war, anti-dogma and not so fond of patriotism, either.
The man leaned further over the balcony rail and announced, “I think it was a cliche disguised not very cleverly as third-rate art.
Somewhere in this a wit yelled, “Four more years.”

Click here to read the rest.


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