We are storytellers: that remains our most unique job description. And we try to tell our stories in the most visceral, theatrical, contemporary way we can. We’ve blasted open the definition of what the theatre experience is. What if it takes place in a swimming pool? Or if it takes place in the dark? What if there are no words spoken at all or the dialogue is spoken in seven ancient languages simultaneously? Or if the audience sits on the stage and the action is played out in the house? What if the audience dances for 45 minutes before the performance begins? We need to create art that turns the rules on its head.
The 1920s German Cabaret had the right idea. Theatre, often irreverent, scandalous, and unforgivingly topical, and always embracing all performing arts forms, happened in bars and restaurants, in pubs, on street corners, and the audiences felt as though they were part of the cast: the stage floor included the surface that lay under their feet, that if they didn’t come, it wouldn’t the same, that they mattered.
Audiences want to be in the presence of others, to socialize, to share a common experience that is happening in real time, right in front or around them; they need that release—which theatre can provide, like the mosh pit of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, or the festivals of fifth-century Athens. Then public go to the circus to see the tightrope walker die. Or to see the lion tamer become lunch. The theatre needs to be something where you feel: you have to experience it, not just read or see it. People are craving experience—they are desperate for experience.
At CSU, we have the right cohort of young artists; they are precocious, rebellious, and nervy, and need to offer the world their fresh takes on their art. They study the past to discover their future. They push us as much as we push them; we learn from our students at least as much as they learn from us.
At 250,000 square feet, the University Center for the Arts is a giant sandbox. Come make our theatre your theatre. Come teach us about your theatre, theatre you treasure, need, and have to attend. Join us!