Reasons to get out of bed…

Oppressive Theater

It has been a really rough week for me. I’m used to being busy and being stressed and all of that, but I had a bit of a mental break that I wasn’t expecting to need!

One of my classes this semester is primarily text-based and therefore means a lot of homework. We read about 4 plays per week which severely limits my reading for enjoyment. Typically, I find reading plays enjoyable though! However, I realized last night that we haven’t read a single comedy. In fact, most of it has been really dark. I’ve read a play where a mother kills her son as legitimately the “humane option,” I’ve read lots of plays where women kill themselves… or others…, plays about war, plays about how God doesn’t love us anymore, etc. Really chipper stuff.

Last night’s class was regarding Revolutionary Theatre. We read Dutchman and The Slave by LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka, which had to do with fighting racism in the 1960s… but like literally fighting racism, as in: let’s start a race war! And Information for Foreigners by Griselda Gambaro which was about Argentina’s “Dirty War” where literally thousands of people just went missing and disappeared off the face of the planet forever. And we read a theory book by Augusto Boal entitled Theatre of the Oppressed. See what I mean about chipper?

Last night, I stayed up until 2 am because I couldn’t stop myself from watching Being Elmo, a documentary (on Netflix instant streaming, in case you need the same pick me up) about Kevin Clash, the voice of Elmo.

I’m about a minute too old to have watched Elmo on Sesame Street; he wasn’t a character when Sesame Street was teaching me the alphabet and how to count to 10. But I still love me some Jim Henson… so I gave the documentary a try. It got me, hook, line, and sinker. I couldn’t stop watching. I really needed it! Kevin Clash is an adorably sweet man.

And I realized, a nice break from oppressive theater is a fuzzy, red monster!

And now I’m off to read about drug dealers and taking advantage of women’s bodies… woo!

But let me leave you with a more positive parting thought, one of my favorite sentiments from Jim Henson:

How important are the visual arts in our society? I feel strongly that the visual arts are of vast and incalculable importance. Of course I could be prejudiced. I am a visual art.
~ Kermit the Frog


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