Friday, May 15, 2020

OSF & Artists’ Dilemma

“The Play’s the Thing…”

    The quote above is from that infamous Prince of Denmark by Mr. S.  Further into the speech, it espouses to capture the conscience/essence of the personage…and so it is, too, with all performing artists…to touch the heart, the guts and the very soul of its live audiences.  This is now absent and sorely missed, as “touching” and gathering is no longer allowed, and so that personal contact between artists and human beings, in order to rouse one’s spirits to action; to awaken new thoughts; to escape from the everyday; to inspire; to change behavior, et. al….is lost in the translation, and we all suffer from that loss of personal contact of mind and body, between one fellow being to another.
    The Performing Arts/Artists affect everyone.  In the case of OSF in Ashland, it affects the whole town.  The restaurants, pubs, book stores, galleries, retail shops, motel/hotels, et. al. (and the livelihood of their employees that work there), rely on their main attraction/draw to this burg for their very existence.  When the essence of this Art form dies, they die.  This is not only true of this vibrant village in Southern Oregon, but also of any performing arts communities in any town…for they truly are the “conscience” of Mankind.
    I don’t pretend to know the way out of this darkness, only that we cannot let “…these few, these chosen few…” that sustain our dreams, pass into non-existence.  We must support, and celebrate, in any way we can, that which sets us apart from the pack, as reasoning creatures with free wills.  We fall, we fail…but we should never let our dreams, and the dream-makers, fade away.  We Artists cannot be quantified, perhaps, but we can be qualified, as to our importance to growth of Spirit
    My bias, of course, because of my performing arts background, is personal.  Part of that is two years at, what was then, SOC, studying with Dr. Bowmer and spending two seasons as an actor at OSF in the late-60’s.  My brief time there taught me that we artists/dreamers, have a special place in this world, and know that our lives will not be easy, as acceptance by an industrial, technological world will be an uphill battle, but a battle that must be won, for all our sakes.
    “We are such stuff as dreams are made on…” and we need to keep that dream, those dreamers, alive, so that through this medium, we explore, via the stage world, other periods of time; other areas of imagination; other cultures; other ways of thinking and behaving; and are we are educated, enlightened and entertained by such folks as these.
     From the seeds of our imaginations, and the artists who foster them, we can be stronger and more united than before, rallying to fuse Nature, Progress and the Arts, into a “brave, new world.”  Dr. Hawking espoused, “be brave, be curious, be determined.”  “This, too, shall pass,” let us make sure that what is forthcoming supports a philosophy of “We the People…”--All People, and their dreams, so that we “shall not perish from the earth!”