Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Sociology of John Malkovich

There are aspects of Ebert’s review (see yesterday's post) that feel out-of-phase with today’s critical conversation (the viewing public has, for example, made great gains with respect to its understanding and appreciation of unsympathetic characters). But it is Ebert's anecdote about Off-Broadway theatre “thriving in the provinces” that has me thinking.

Ebert writes:

I remembered a conversation I had with the actor John Malkovich about the way that Off-Broadway theater was dying in New York while thriving in the provinces. "To have Off-Broadway," he said, "you have to have starving actors. And to have starving actors, you have to have a place for them to starve. New York is too expensive for that. You can't afford to starve there anymore."

Apart from neglecting to acknowledge the role AIDS played in the decline of NYC’s Off-Broadway theatre culture, I wonder if Malkovich 's proposition could be applied to other venues, cities and disciplines -- if Off-Broadway could be replaced with artist-run culture, New York replaced with Vancouver, and actors replaced with visual artists?

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