Thursday, October 27, 2005

The Contrarian:

Kazanjian is a self-described practitioner of "poor theater," famously advocated by European directors Peter Brook and Jerzy Grotowski. Disciplined and economical, poor theater doesn't try to compete with cinema's spectacle (à la lavish musicals) but sticks to the basic elements of performance: actor, text, room, audience. "When you have money, you can add Aristotle's element of spectacle," Kazanjian says. "In commercial culture, spectacle is the dominant element. Emerging artists—because they lack mentorship—think spectacle is most important, and they spend more on sets than their artists. Always pay the artist!"

He has similarly strong opinions on "fringe theater" ("It is a politicized term that pigeonholes emerging artists as extraneous and that's bullshit"), regional theater ("Managers are full-time but the artists are part-time—regional theaters are not homes for artists, they're motels"), and arts real estate ("Business and government should partner to help arts organizations move into empty warehouses and reduce their overhead").