The next generation is finding new places to do theater.
Site specific and environmental theater has always been a “thing.” (I was one of the few that got to see Jonathan “Rent” Larson’s site specific JP Morgan Saves The Nation which was performed on the steps of a big bank downtown.)
But is it me, or do much higher profile productions seem to be finding their way into new and interesting spaces? And do more productions in traditional spaces seem to be using the spaces non-traditionally?
Take the in-a-tent Natasha, Pierre and The Great Comet of 1812. Or what about the “360 degree scenic and video environment” seen in Here Lies Love? Murder Ballad? Sleep No More? Then She Fell?
And everyone’s talking about how Rocky (directed by Here Lies Love helmer, Alex Timbers) turns the theater into a boxing ring by physically moving the audience.
So what do all these productions have in common?
You guessed it . . . the creators could all be on an “Under 40” list.
Is it just because younger folks have to come up with cheaper performance spaces than traditional halls? Are younger folks more likely to try something a little more out there?
Or, is it that the next generation of artists . . . and audiences . . . demand a different type of experience than the generations before it? Is it that a revolution of how we consume theater may be coming, which doesn’t take place in old fashioned proscenium houses with only two bathrooms and uncomfortable seats?
If you’re 40 years old or younger, then you’ve grown up in the computer age. And that means you experience the world in an entirely different way than the people who came before you.
And that means you’re going to create art in a totally different way as well.
And this generation is only just getting started.
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