The Commonplace Blog of Jeffrey M. Jones: October 2007

20 Apr

The Commonplace Blog of Jeffrey M. Jones: October 2007.

This article by Jeff Jones, first published in American Theatre in 2005, deserves wider consideration.  He considers the difference between art criticism and theatre criticism, and makes a compelling case that a concerted effort in the visual arts to bring audiences along has succeeded, whereas the professional theatre has failed dismally to introduce audiences to the kinds of critical concepts that would allow them access to (and enjoyment of) structurally experimental work.

Jones then goes on to suggest some curatorial strategies from the visual arts that might serve the theatre to reverse its shrinking audience base and overcome some of the problems that face new work.

My only quibble is with the off-hand characterization of the hoi-polloi as “little old ladies” and “grey-haired ladies”–the implication being that if even
these people can risk adventure, anyone can. Butheatre audiences have more women in them than men. And some of these women at the theatre or art gallery might be brain surgeons or literary critics or artists on a day out.

However, it’s a great piece with a provocative and smart thesis. Well worth reading!


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