File puptcrit/puptcrit.0811, message 121


Date: Mon, 10 Nov 2008 23:06:52 -0500
To: puptcrit-AT-puptcrit.org
Subject: [Puptcrit] Turn, turn, turn - to every reason...


It is important to remember that there are several sides, and even a 
middle to every situation, and several perspectives from which to view 
each side. And times when we want to see other sides, and times when we 
want to escape from seeing all sides including more of our own. (to 
every thing...turn, turn, turn...)

Remember too, what some will call a "force" others may call a "farse," 
depending on their viewpoint.

Rating one's work for appropriateness (whether the rating comes from 
the artist, sponsor, or audience) can vary greatly by what one may 
believe is appropriate. You may think something is appropriate for a 6 
year old that I do not, and vice versa, depending on the particular 
item and/or subject. A "warning" at least alerts the viewer that there 
is something there that may not be accepted as the norm of appropriate. 
Sort of a "buyer beware." However, when one has an agenda of one sort 
or another, it is often easy to lose sight of what the norm is - and/or 
not care.

All of that being said, there is also an appropriateness of content and 
context. To suddenly place you political view within an otherwise 
non-partisan show is, IMO, objectionable. There are times when we 
expect entertainment to be escapist. Not to take sides, but it seems 
THAT fact is being overlooked, if not ignored, in the current chat. 
Certainly a military family does not need the reminder that their loved 
one is currently in a position of possibly killing or being killed when 
they are attending what they expect to be light entertainment. Perhaps 
wrongly so in this case, I can't say as I don't know all of the facets 
of the situation. To think that an audience is choosing to stay 
ignorant of the number of deaths in Iraq because they objected to 
having it thrown in their face at an unexpected and possibly 
inappropriate time I find a bit callous and small mindedly self 
righteous, not to mention closed minded in its own way. As Pogo said, 
"I have seen the enemy, and he is us." The pot doth call the kettle 
black.

But to put the full burden on any one part of the equation (audience, 
performer, presenter) is also erroneous. Presenter and performer need 
to work together to select a show appropriate for the occasion and 
audience, and adequately inform the audience of what is to be 
presented. The audience member needs to select beyond the word "puppet" 
for what suits its current appetite, and see if the fare is fit for all 
of the members of its part of the audience. I would hope one would not 
take their young child to see Calligula because that child loved things 
to do with the Roman Empire. Yet, I would also expect the audience to 
be rightfully upset if they got tickets to a Cinderella show and were 
shown Calligula in its place, even if the "artist" somehow incorporated 
Cinderella running through an orgy in the show.

I strongly disagree with the concept that I, as an artist, should size 
up my audience and radically alter or adjust my show accordingly on a 
case by case basis. I will tweak the show, emphasizing or 
de-emphasizing something, but to do major rewrites on the fly and be 
expected to also fill the alloted time is bizarre. If I have grave last 
minute concerns about the appropriateness of something in a show, I may 
check with the sponsor before I begin - if possible. But that's not 
always possible. And unless I am aware of the area, I may completely 
misjudge the audience. I would trust the sponsor to know their audience 
better than I, as they see them all of the time and I only for that 
booking. If I agree to deliver carrots, I deliver carrots. I may check 
with a sponsor if I think it looks like an audience that would prefer 
its carrots boiled until soft, rather than the raw ones I am prepared 
to deliver, but it's not really my call. That part should have been 
taken care of when I was booking the show, not when the curtain opens. 
Furthermore, my personal approach is more to raise the questions and 
set the audience on a quest for their own answer rather than to present 
an answer, or worse yet THE answer. I may offer an opinion in passing, 
but I try to avoid the "tape the answer to a baseball bat and beat the 
audience with it" approach, no matter how gently the beating may be.

Oh, I need to stop. I usually avoid online political debates, and I've 
gone on way too long already, even if it does have to do with puppetry.

Christopher

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