On “The Great Dictator”
6 hours ago
This is the former location of the blog of the Mother of Invention Acting School in Los Angeles and San Francisco. The blog is now located at http://utteracting.com/blog. This old location has been left in place as an archive.
The desire to treat terrible events as the harbinger of the end of civilization itself also has roots in another human trait: vanity.
We all believe we live in an exceptional time, perhaps even a critical moment in the history of the species. Technology appears to have given us power over the atom, our genomes, the planet—with potentially dire consequences. This attitude may stem from nothing more than our desire to place ourselves at the center of the universe. “It’s part of the fundamental limited perspective of our species to believe that this moment is the critical one and critical in every way—for good, for bad, for the final end of humanity,” says Nicholas Christenfeld, a psychologist at the University of California, San Diego. Imagining the end of the world is nigh makes us feel special.
Eric Bland is becoming the voice of his generation. Is it too big a stretch to compare him to John Osborne, whose "Angry Young Man" in Look Back in Anger seemed to crystallize the angst and anxiety of postwar Europe? Bland, both more poetical and more avant-garde in his inclinations than Osborne was, speaks brilliantly about this particular American cultural moment in his remarkable new play Emancipatory Politics, which is currently being presented by Incubator Arts Project under the auspices of Bland's company Old Kent Road Theater. People who are interested in the way the world is now, and the way the theatre of today and tomorrow is going to be, will want to see this show.
Rick Burkhardt studied music composition at Harvard University, the University of Illinois, and the University of California, San Diego, where he earned his Ph.D. in 2006. He has received commissions, grants, and performances from organizations and performers such as the U.S.-Mexico Fund for Culture, the La Jolla Symphony, Ensemble Surplus, the Boswil Foundation, Janos Negyesy and Paivikki Nykter, Ensemble Ascolta, Red Fish Blue Fish, the NOISE quartet, the past(modern) duo, sfSound, Toca Loca, Mark Menzies, the Olympia Chamber Orchestra, the American Composers Forum, and Ensemble Chronophonie. During the early 1990's, he toured the US, Germany, and Swtizerland performing new music and theater with the Performers' Workshop Ensemble. In 1997, he began studying music with Chaya Czernowin and took classes in poetry from Rae Armantrout. He spent the following years inventing idiosyncratic methods for producing critical interactions of oddly integrated music and text. His hobby, the satirical political cabaret duo the Prince Myshkins (with virtuoso guitarist, singer and lifelong collaborator Andy Gricevich), became a full-time job in 2002, once the "War on Terror" had provided an alarming overflow of material to satirize, and he began dividing his time between completing his studies and touring nationally, recording two CDs of his original political songs which have been covered and recorded by musicians across the US. He is a founding member of the Nonsense Company, an experimental music / theater trio dedicated to new works and new venues. The Nonsense Company has performed in over 30 US cities, presenting new music and theater in unexpected combinations for a wide range of audiences. Their concert in Darmstadt in 2004 was hailed as "one of the most solid, free, and critical aesthetic propositions... of the festival." Their 2008 performance in NYC's Frigid Theater Festival was reviewed as "the must see show of the festival" and won Best Show and Audience Choice awards. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.