About six months ago or so, I started a blog on an overheated whim. I should back up. I’m generally kind of afraid of digital media of all kinds. I had a blog in college, but I let that go pretty quickly. I have had a facebook since I could have a facebook (late 2005, the end of my freshman year of college), but I don’t really trust it. So anyway, about six months ago, I started a blog with the stated purpose of fully immersing myself in all that the world wide web had to offer. You can see the blog, and you’ll note that it ends in dismal failure. I managed to join a few networks (including Pinterest, which should have novels, anthropological studies, and Single White Female-style made-for-TV-movies made about it, but that’s for another time) but kind of lost track of them. Updates dwindled. I became listless and missionless. Turns out that the anxiety I feel about a digital shell of me, with my face and my interests but none of my ability to make small talk or eat snacks, only intensified with immersion. But even more importantly, I lost track of them because I was busy in rehearsals. I should back up again.
Hi, hello, my name is Joe and if you know me, I’m probably going to invite you to a play sometimes. This is a good kind of banner statement to have if you’ve ever been in a play. You might recognize this reason to introduce yourself, support group style, and you’ve probably felt before (as I do now) that you need to spend your time as apologist in support of your art. And that probably goes for a lot of things, like inviting people to watch you show your dog or your vintage Mustang or garden or dog or bike or really good grilled steak or coin collection or your band play or your wine or the room you set aside in your house just to work on clocks. I don’t know, I’m just trying to come up with stuff.
Okay, but I do theater. And I really love it. I love making it, seeing it, talking about it…I will go on at length about exactly why I hate to see blue fabric as water on stage with the slimmest provocation. Seriously, don’t get me started because if you do, I really will go on (at length) even though you don’t care. And if you don’t care, I really want you to. Here is one good reason why:
Live Performance is one of only a few art thigns I can think of that can not be mediated. If you put Music online, it’s Music. A Movie on your computer is still a Movie. Whether you read it on paper or on your kindle, it’s a Novel. Sculptures and Paints are kind of a gray area here, but you can get a good idea from google image search if you really want to know. But a Play? No can do. Put a play online it becomes movie. If you can even put it online. I mean, nobody records them, because any commercial release of a filmed play has proven that nobody wants to watch them because they are excruciatingly painful to watch. Embarrassing, really. All those people talking so loud and making weird faces and sweating like crazy and occasionally singing and putting up a barn. It’s just miserable.
But of course it’s hard to watch on video. You just kind of had to be there. If you want to see a play, you have to take your body up and go somewhere, and submit yourself strenuously to the idea that your friend or friend of a friend of a facebook friend is someone else right now and is really going to say that, or really going to do that, in that particular way, with hair that color and in those clothes. You have to submit some money (sorry) and a whole evening and seriously risk watching a barn get put up by singing dudes and petite girls in several different colored shirts (sweating like crazy) and maybe have to go get drinks with these people afterward. Of course, sometimes there is no barn raising, just some good jokes and pretty lights and maybe you have a pretty nice time as a person, in a room full of other people.
And (see above, re: my fear of social media) I think that’s a good thing. I think people should get their bodies up and go hear a story that is not Breaking Bad, the presidential election, their neighbor’s noise issues, Robert Downey, Jr. flying, their bills, a video of some kid getting seriously hurt, or even some dude dancing all over the world, etc and etc. I think it’s good for brains, and will probably make you unexpectedly smile a lot more than you otherwise would have. Plus you can get drinks before or afterwards and it’s way less taxing than like, going dancing. I don’t know people who go dancing. Do I?
And because I think that’s a good thing (builds the empathetic muscles, right?), I’m excited to be in Better. It’s funny and fun, and believes that people are good and want to be good. It contains warmth and humor and faith in best intentions that I find lacking from a lot of the stories I hear. I’m biased, but I think it’s pretty great. And I’m excited that people have to get up and come see it (with all their arms and legs and kunckles and uvulas, etc. that make them bizarrely, tragically, and delightfully human) and maybe stay and have a drink after. Because you can’t get it any other way.
So you should come see Better. We’ll see you there!
Joe Giovannetti is a founding member of Bartleby Productions and appears in BETTER as Josh.