Now Plus 50: What comes next for Off-Broadway?

From The Village Voice:

Broadway The ’50s were tainted with anti-intellectualism: People who read books were assumed to be leftist, queer, or possibly both. Today that willed ignorance has merged with religious extremism to become an anti-art, anti-science obscurantism that presages a new Dark Age. And nature is warning us that the depletion of natural resources means it may be dark in more than intellectual ways. With so many forces arrayed against it, what chance does our theater have in the next 50 years? The answer, I suspect, is: pretty much the same chance it had 50 years ago. We know what the human spirit does when forced into a corner. It fights back. The history of all tyrannies is a history of rebellions; the history of art is a history of building alternatives to the received idea. The fat corporate cats who have hopes of reducing middle-class Americans (artists included) to unpensioned wage slaves with no governmental safety net are fools, living at the end of their empire, not at its beginning. I’m not proposing that every artist become a political rebel; art has more complex purposes and tactics than that. But so little good currently exists in our society that it seems natural to expect artists to reject it more strongly, to move toward the good.

Technology has enhanced the theater in many spectacular ways, but going back to the bareness of the human body and voice, on a bare platform, in “found” costumes—theater as it was before the Industrial Revolution—might even prove pleasurable as well as practical.

More here.