There’s an intriguing line in the New Yorker’s review of Japanese artist-entrepreneur Takashi Murakami’s show at the Brooklyn Museum. Critic Peter Schjeldahl says that with this show “New Yorkers” – and by extension, all Americans – “have a chance to absorb our new geo-spiritual fate, as provincials in a world of creative paradigms that no longer entreat our favor. That has to be good for us.” This encapsulation of the universal within the specific is just one of many reasons I love The New Yorker.
For some reason, this line made me think about “Waiting to be Invited,” the production by the African American Repertory Theatre that was reviewed in the T-D earlier this week. To make a full disclosure here, I’m pretty sure I have only seen two productions by this company, and that was back when it was still Living Word. But based on those productions and on everything I’ve heard from others since, there may be some creative paradigm at work with AART that I don’t understand. There are ways in which the “rules” of theater can be bent or even broken that are challenging and enlightening or even disturbing. There’s nothing wrong with that. But if theater just isn’t very good, well, then it just isn’t very good. I try to keep my outlook positive and think that they are working toward what may eventually blossom into something awesome. But my fear is that they just aren’t doing very good theater. Does anyone else have an alternative view?