Monday, March 22, 2010

Terms of Enjoyment

The right and proper Don Hall continues his trend of responding and riffing on other folks' posts without linking or noting the original post and comes up with this, responding to the Pink Floyd story I posted here:
A better argument to get someone to buy a vinyl record and a turntable (although still not going to revitalize a fringe medium) is to point out that "Dark Side of the Moon" is an album and is supposed to be listened to in sequence and that it works best on a record as that was how it was intended to be listened to. Content is more compelling than quality of experience. Unless it's parking and that's a gift horse of another color.
Emphasis mine.

This kind of misses the point of what I was getting at. I said:
I've never really understood the urge of some artists to go around and control exactly how their work is enjoyed. Isn't the enjoyment the point?
And that's really what I meant. Do artists get to set the terms of enjoyment? Should they? Do they get to set it in some formats or all? If I prefer to just listen to "Run" or "Comfortably Numb" and enjoy them, can Pink Floyd come into my house and say, "No, no, NO! You have to listen to the whole album! On a record player! You're ruining our music!"? I don't think so.

And to apply it to the world of theatre and the conversations that Don is referencing, I don't think love = control. At some point you have to let go and let it go into the world and find people who connect with it. Joy is certainly infectious and should be. Awesome. But it's not the only thing that matters. The work itself has to mean something.

Don brings up the always interesting world of Star Trek fans. The reason people dress up like Klingons and wear Starfleet uniforms to court isn't because Gene Roddenberry loved it so much, not exactly. He built a world that means something to other people, that connects to their life. He built it faithfully and lovingly, but didn't insist that it could only be enjoyed in wool blend uniforms and with the proper specs.

It's access, yes, but it's also sharing. It's also the artist setting part of their ego aside to say, "This is yours, too. Enjoy it as you see fit." I think that's a pretty good invitation to make.

3 comments:

Don Hall said...

Sorry, Jason.

I hadn't read your post on Pink Floyd or I would've had additional food for thought. I was responding only to Travis.

I actually agree with you about the lack of control - I was merely saying that the notion that talking about how rich and pure the experience of live theater only really works for those that are already in it. Content is a better persuasion, I think. And the Dark Side argument is about the content of presentation rather than the richness of the sound quality.

99 said...

Content is definitely the bigger draw. I know we're in agreement on that one. What's inside matters more than the package or the marketing. If the product is intriguing and engaging, nothing else really matters.

I think we do spend a little too much time thinking about making theatre seem like fun as opposed to actually, you know, making it fun.

Don Hall said...

"I think we do spend a little too much time thinking about making theatre seem like fun as opposed to actually, you know, making it fun."

Truer words have yet to be uttered.