“We’ve really moved into a process of doing theater and making theater that’s much more collaborative and interdisciplinary, communal and multi-authored,” explained Theresa May while we chatted about the future of green theater. May believes, and I think rightfully so, that as theater grows into a more authentically collaborative form, rather than being so only in concept, it continues to dethrone the idea that she refers to as “the myth of the individual,” so propogated by the historical notion of one leading artist driving the creation.
And it doesn’t hurt that the planet’s ecological nightmare has become part of pop culture, with global warming (or the more politically acceptable “climate change”) now resting on the tongues of “ordinary people in Walmart.” “That there is something in the lexicon now that was an elite phrase only months ago,” says May, “that opens a space for new conversations, for new innovations, for new experimentations, for new rhetoric and grant writing.”
It also opens a space for a new way of approaching theater education and training. In my recent talks with various folks, and especially with May and Fried, it has grown increasingly apparent that without a serious shift in academic approaches to theater, professional theater will never fully realize sustainability.