Tuesday, January 24, 2006

I think the ideas proposed today in the discussion were of a very high caliber. Working as collaborators can be difficult. If you have ever directed, you know the feeling. Oftentimes, rejection feels like someone is trying to stamp on your child, who has suddenly been shunned by the world. It is not a pleasant thing to feel, but I'm sure everyone will experience it at some point during the process. Unfortunately, that is the nature of the beast. Even when you write alone, editing is often necessarily and can be brutal, especially if it is done by an outside source.

In relation to this notion of collaborative art, I was recently reading an article in The New Yorker about the gestation of a new opera by the artists Peter Sellars (not Clouseau!) and John Adams (not the ex-President!). The opera is relevant to what we are doing because it too is about science. Dr. Atomic takes as its subject J. Robert Oppenheimer and the detonation of the atom bomb at Los Alamos. Primarily, the opera is about the effects this experiment would have on the members involved, but it also hints at the impact it would have on the whole world. It was only after the bombs had been dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki that Oppenheimer understood the true implications of his findings and tried to take action to stop them. It is a sad story; Oppenheimer's security clearance was eventually revoked, and he was forced out of the prestigious position he had held in the scientific community. Of course, Oppenheimer was not the only person involved in the Manhattan Project, but we often associate his image with it. Sellars and Adams may not have been studying the Human Genome project, but they, much like us, were crafting a piece of theatre based around science. The article does not only shed light on this new project; it also documents the working relationship between Sellars and Adams. It is very interesting to read because the men are so different in their methods. They, however, were able to get along and craft a piece of art that hopefully would resound with its prospective audience. We, as members of this project, have the same responsibility to each other, as Sellars and Adams did, as we explore the issues of our topic and try to craft our own theatrical work. As I was saying yesterday, each of us has a responsibility, both for the research being done and its potential effects and for the art we create because of it. If we cannot respect each other in this rich environment, how can humanity even have a chance of working out its differences (which is a dream, but hard to see as a reality)? I expect great things from us all.

And now, Elliott steps down off his liberal soapbox, picks up his Dr. Pepper, and calls the police.

2 Comments:

Blogger Joel said...

I was fairly nervous about the whole idea of doing this collaborative theatre, especially with sixteen people working on it. I was fairly comforted toward the end of the day, though, when we got a better idea of what the play would look like. I'm really intrigued about developing our own characters.

Science and theatre, prepare to mesh!

6:47 PM  
Blogger James Thomson said...

I'm with Joel. I was so nervous that we'd have millions of great ideas with no clear idea of where we would go by the time that our deadline for the outline is due (February 1, I believe). Today, my nervousness about that was banished as we discussed things. Suddenly, it felt as if we all flipped to the same page. We all started to see something more concrete in our minds. However, the play isn't completely solidified; it still has more of a Play-Doh consistency that can and will be molded as we work more on it. It just feels nice to know that we know pretty much what precisely we are working with here. We know we are working with "Play-Doh". We just need to give it its form.

7:32 PM  

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