By no means do I agree with everything that theatre critic/blogger Matt Trueman says, but I’ve read two pieces by his this week which struck a chord, and seem related.
Firstly, this piece, which, to summarise and slightly over-simplify, suggests that art doesn’t have to make sense. Secondly, this piece, which praises Stephen Sondheim’s Follies and the Old Vic’s production of Girl From The North Country, whilst warning that musicals should beware of falling back on the tried and tested formulas.
I love this idea that logical coherence should not necessarily be the main ambition of art. Sometimes it will be – sometimes it won’t – it depends what piece you’re making. Does theatre need to explain something to us or lay out an argument or story clearly? Journalism and essays, for example, do that very well.
I feel like often we’re led by what has worked before – which makes sense in many ways – nobody creates anything in a vacuum, and everybody learns from their experiences of making, seeing and thinking about work. I feel this can also lead to a narrowing of the palette of what is considered ‘mainstream’, ‘accessible’ or even ‘normal’ theatre and art general.
Perhaps if theatre makers (and TV, film and music makers for that matter), more often went into the unknown, our cultural idea of what is ‘accessible’ might broaden…
I mean – this is an absolute banger…right?