Over the past few weeks I’ve gained a growing interest on understanding the Occupy movement and my point of view on it has pretty radically changed. As I’ve gone through my progression in understanding how the movement is structured and acted out, I’ve constantly had theatre on my mind as I look into it. Over my next few posts I’m going to attempt to discuss different specific elements of the movement and how they interact with theatre and my own aesthetic.
In my journey of understanding the Occupy movement, I started out uninformed and unimpressed. I didn’t know what the movement was about and the little information I had was that it was a simple general outcry with no real force or thought behind it. As I moved past this initial starting point, I learned about the governing system and how the Occupy movement is many individual voices clumped through a common discontent. One of the biggest criticisms of the movement though, similar to my original understanding, is that the movement provides no solution to the problems it brings focus to. Yet the truth of the matter is that underneath the general outcry are plenty of individual solutions to the problems. Occupy is the scream of discontent. The shout that, “We’re made as hell and we’re not going to take it anymore.”
Even preceding my interest in the Occupy movement, my firm belief in the theatre as a tool of social change was wavering. I’d only ever witnessed one show that activated me in terms of my society and self-actions and it seemed that there was very little theatre doing that these days. As a country birthed out of political revolt that gave harbor to artists like Bertolt Brecht, we’re sure slacking on our duties to bring together the masses, to tell them a story, and to have them go, “Wait a minute, something’s wrong here.” I knew that this was the art I wanted to make, I didn’t know if it was still possible.
And here is where the Occupy Movement has revitalized me. Occupy has proven to me that as human beings we still have the ability to come together as a group and let out a cathartic, or maybe it’s more anti-cathartic, “No!” That generations, both young and old, still have enough movement and simple care in them to let it be known when they see something wrong with their world. I don’t want to dive now into what it means that this may well still be a self-wellfare driven outcry, but at least even that is still possible.
As a theatre artist I want to harness this communal power to say, “No!” and let it infect every inch of my work. I want to bring the illusioned-comfortable and make wipe away the fantasy of the world they live in.