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The Noam Chomsky Lectures (1998)

af Daniel Brooks

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231769,399 (2.5)Ingen
'Ordinarily, theatre relies on illusion in order to reveal truths; The Noam Chomsky Lectures relies on truths in order to reveal illusions. Following the impetus of Chomsky himself, Brooks and Verdecchia have recognized that mass media, mass spectacle, have trivialized and severed consciousness and conscience, separating both from a communal base. We collectively know little about what is done in our name by our elected governments and the business interests they serve. The Noam Chomsky Lectures assumes not only that we do want to know, that our 'knowing together' may change things, but also that it is less painful to know than to not know.' - Joyce Nelson in her introduction to The Noam Chomsky Lectures… (mere)

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At some moment, there was a tiny window of space and time where this play could have been performed (and was). The place is Canada; the time is the early 1990s. The only audience would be a group of earnest social reformers who wanted to change the world. Not a typical stage play at all, it more resembles Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth, if Al Gore had been channeling John Belushi and Steve Martin, but less funny. The play is a political tract without a linear story; I usually enjoy plays that break the rules of playwriting, and the vision of the Esthetic Police brings about chuckles, but somehow this one didn't work. It was too self referential while not being self-referential enough, if I may be given leeway to contradict myself. It is too talky, and sounds more like a college lecture by that really quirky professor you had in history class who dressed up like the era he was teaching and threw chalk at the students. In other words, I would have liked it to work. It didn't. Perhaps it's because of the power and force of history thundering forward, and the realization that the only way to perform this play again would be to update it dramatically (in other words, an almost total rewrite). Also, the recognition that almost no audience would sit still for this play in this day and age of soundbites. Long expository speeches can work in a play if they're done well, but long lectures can't. There is very little argument, at least in my opinion, for approaching this subject in this way in a play, when you could probably stage it more effectively by using somewhat more standard plot formulations, even if you still wanted to break the rules of theatre by playing with time, space, and form. Not good; not horrible, either. ( )
1 stem Devil_llama | May 20, 2013 |
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'Ordinarily, theatre relies on illusion in order to reveal truths; The Noam Chomsky Lectures relies on truths in order to reveal illusions. Following the impetus of Chomsky himself, Brooks and Verdecchia have recognized that mass media, mass spectacle, have trivialized and severed consciousness and conscience, separating both from a communal base. We collectively know little about what is done in our name by our elected governments and the business interests they serve. The Noam Chomsky Lectures assumes not only that we do want to know, that our 'knowing together' may change things, but also that it is less painful to know than to not know.' - Joyce Nelson in her introduction to The Noam Chomsky Lectures

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