File puptcrit/puptcrit.0811, message 133

To: <>
Date: Tue, 11 Nov 2008 11:09:59 -0500
Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] Living, breathing art is MESSY

What a great outlook you have! It is inspiring!
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Gina Gambony" <>
To: <>
Sent: Tuesday, November 11, 2008 2:29 AM
Subject: [Puptcrit] Living, breathing art is MESSY

>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 totally agree, and would never expect such a thing.  In the case of 
> B&P, however, the removal of skits they may have deemed "not appropriate" 
> for the audience would have been easy as pie.  We actually reworked a few 
> things 20 minutes before the show when we moved it to an incredibly 
> smaller space, added a couple things, took out a couple things.  At 
> Thalian Hall, they knew who the audience was before the show started-and I 
> don't think they really thought it was inappropriate.  We all say things 
> following an unpleasant event to attempt to justify our own position in it 
> (like I've been doing for over a week).  And we talked about it for a long 
> time afterward, a large focus of the discussion being what was offensive, 
> why this happened, etc.
>     Before they arrived, I was in constant contact with their 
> representative; I promoted the shows with the descriptions I received, 
> along with a history of B&P and their website link; I distributed pictures 
> of the work...
>    I have been on all the sides of situations like these, which is why I'm 
> really not angry at anyone about what happened, and I'm not willing to 
> pass out blame easily.  I know what it is like to be a performer in and 
> director of works that have been appropriate and those that were 
> inappropriate, and I have made some mistakes in judgement therein; I have 
> been a teacher, and I know the wrath of the Offended (one of my favorites: 
> I was called into the principal's office because a parent complained about 
> my assignment, which required an argumentative essay without the use of, 
> among several things, religious doctrine)...I have compassion for my boss, 
> I know he was acting out the fear all administrators (dependent on our 
> supporters, remember) have -doing the Dance of Social Mores, which 
> involves doing whatever necessary to Show the World you strongly defend 
> the Offended and will not Tolerate Immorality (or something like that).  I 
> poke fun, but I know and live this fear!
>     I really don't know that it's necessary to figure out whose fault it 
> was, but I do know my board will try, the school will try, because it's a 
> neat package then. What can I say when the blame comes my way? I had a lot 
> of information, including seeing the troupe perform what I thought were 
> similar shows to what we were getting.  But my information wasn't 
> adequate-who knew?  I contracted them for a school show, maybe they didn't 
> know the age/the culture/the sensitivity-who knew?  My boss-he was 
> nervous, and having no experience with the troupe at all, wasn't sure WHAT 
> in the world would crop up next-were they going to get naked? Who knew?
>     Let me rephrase this-I really don't know that it is ANYONE'S 
> fault-although little uncertainties abound all around.  I think it was an 
> unexpected, uncomfortable, awkward incident that happened because of the 
> coalescence of a variety of factors.  It is amusing to me that people 
> can't accept the underlying chaos in society/universe even when we are 
> smacked in the face with it all the time!  Part of our control fantasy is 
> played out with the power of blame.
>     Don't tell anyone, but I actually believe a lot of good has (or will) 
> come of this for my town.  And if something like this didn't ever happen, 
> I'm not sure we could call Bread and Puppet a force of nature anymore. 
> The unexpected happened.  Living, breathing Art, yes?
> And yes, it will be really sad if I lose my job over it.  I expect I'll 
> know tomorrow.
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