What Theatre is For

Bitter Gertrude

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what theatre is and why we do it. It sounds like an easy thing to think about until you actually start thinking about it.

Someone I know recently referred to himself as a “provocateur” in how he creates his art, and that it’s not enough for him to just “do theatre.” I’ve known quite a few people who see themselves primarily as something along those lines– trying to “awaken” people, or provide some kind of “transformative experience.” And I think those can be laudable goals, to a certain extent. But what does it mean to “just do theatre”? Is being a “provocateur” more than “just doing theatre”?

I’m not sure if the “provocateur” approach can be, ultimately, a successful starting point all on its own.  Provoke them to do what? Rush Limbaugh and Anne Coulter are two of the best provocateurs in the…

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