Art as we all know does not exist in a vacuum- it always thrives on resistance to mainstream culture. It has to- adapt or die. Artaud’s assertion that ‘theatre is like a plague’ has taken on a whole new resonance lately. Who knew how prescient Uncle Chuckles was going to be?
However, even though venues are closed for the foreseeable future, the rumours of theatre’s demise may be a tad premature. Artists like Louise Orwin, our pals Jamie Wardrop and Megahertz and many others have been creating beautiful standalone films in lockdown, turning inwards for resources, while taking leftfield turns.
Hotline, created by Nima Sene and Meghan Tyler worked via a recorded message (see my previous review)- proving theatre of the mind isn’t a cliché about radio shows of yesteryear anymore. Whereas Queer Theory, Scottee, Dusty Limits and other cabaret artistes have provided virtual shows that don’t skimp on creativity, props or imagination.
Theatre will re-emerge then, but what remains to be seen is the form it will take- and just how willing the audience will be to fill the plush seats after the forced pandemic introversion. Maybe just as well- theatre definitely needs a kick up it’s somewhat complacent and limited arse.