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    Reader comments on Drip

    Subject: Re: Eurocentric by chance, not choice
    Date: Aug 20, 2003
    Sender: frank episalePrevious

    <i>note: I originally sent this to Attic People privately, but Max Dana, a group member, ecnouraged me to post it here in hopes of fostering a wider conversation.</i>

    Your comments concerning my review are well-taken. While I apologize for any offence given, "criticism" is indeed the job of a critic and I tried to give a balanced review of what I saw as a flawed project by a talented and skilled group of performers.

    It's true that "western" and "non-western" are reductive terms, and that there are great distinctions between various members of the European Union and the United States. Indeed, there are a great many cultural divisions evident between municipalities just within the United States. Nevertheless, if work dedicated to breaking down cultural and linguistic barriers focused on a collision between residents of Kentucky and residents of New York, I would tend to find something in the agenda suspect.

    I believe that criticism should primarily examine how successfully, how artfully, a performance achieves its goals. The stated goal of your company is to be found in your mission statement, and I took you at your word. Even
    within the context of Europe and the U.S., it's worth noting that your narrative is set in the States but looks, feels and sounds like Europe. This may be a choice, but I confess I found it a little strange-- unless you were going for a 17th century sort of device where you set the action of a play somewhere removed from the actual target of its satire. This seems unlikely,
    though, because part of what you are doing with DRIP is poking fun (and justly so) at America's often mean-spirited, bullying version of democracy.

    Anyway, thanks for writing. I do think your company has a bright future and I hope you can find exposure outside of the confines of Fringe Festivals, as well as get some funding and continue to broaden your aesthetic, etc. I'm
    replying privately so as not to appear defensive or try to start a debate, but if you'd prefer I post this to the site I certainly can.


    Frank Episale

    Previous: Eurocentric by chance, not choice

    Respond to this message | Return to original article: Drip

    Response to this comment:
    Eurocentric by chance, not choice

    In response to Frank Espinale's review, while we respect his opinion of the show, we take issue with his criticism of our work being Eurocentric. Of course we are Eurocentric. We are from Europe. We have no funding. We are one year old. We are a group of seven. International work is incredibly expensive and invites a financial risk that could spell the death of a fledgling company.

    As for your quote from our publicity materials, that we try to develop works that "cut across cultural and linguistic barriers to reach a diverse international audience", please remember that is from our mission statement. A mission statement explains what we are TRYING to do, and even if we are too poor and too unknown to acheive it fully now, at least we are making an attempt to avoid the formulaic success models of the provocatively-named musical or the nonsensically abstract Wooster Group knockoff. We resist the rush toward audience-alienating abstraction or cultural fetishism and try first and foremost to entertain - on a basic human level - the widest possible audience. It is pointless to be "innovative" or meaningful if no one is willing to listen.

    As a side note, I would also say that your division of culture into western and non-western is a vastly oversimplified description of what culture actually is. Germans are not French and Brits are not American. The world is a rich source of inspiration, and there is much to be found in exploring what lies hidden all around us. That is the root of our name, and that is what interests us in this kind of theatre.

    Attic People

    Comment index:

  • Eurocentric by chance, not choice   from Attic People, Aug 20, 2003
  • » Re: Eurocentric by chance, not choice «   from frank episale, Aug 20, 2003
  • Eurocentric by chance, not choice   from Attic People, Aug 20, 2003
  • » Re: Eurocentric by chance, not choice «   from frank episale, Aug 20, 2003