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The Playwrights Forum > General > Take the Stage > Paglia on male vs female artist

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 Posted: Fri Nov 17th, 2017 11:28 am
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KENACT
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Joined: Tue Oct 3rd, 2006
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I don't watch Camille Paglia much. Her speaking style has gotten her nicknamed The Woody Woodpecker of reason, and it becomes hard, if not irritating to listen to her.

But on this clip, from about 4:05 to 6:55, she hits a home run on the difference between male and female artists, especially in my experience in live theatre. "Women don't need the mania of artmaking to exist". True in the sense that I've personally never seen it. Both Judith Malina and Penny Arcade can be held up as counterindicating Paglia's statement. Paglia herself could be held up; but that men are compulsive-obsessively driven to create something outside of themselves is the only explanation I have of why I've stuck with it for so long.

When I was in college I'd read about the Off-Off-Broadway scene and the early careers of Sam Shepard with Theatre Genesis, and Dustin Hoffman and Al Pacino and Jahn Cazales and especially Robert De Niro, and their ferocious struggles to create in theatres that were even crummier than modern storefront theatres. Or, going to an earlier time, roommates Henry Fonda and James Stewart living on salt and pepper sandwiches. Billy Bob Thornton went so overboard with the starving actor thing that he has a heart condition from malnutrition. Judith Malina went through a small family fortune and died destitute in an actor's home, exactly the fate she wanted. They created what they wanted, and didn't care what anybody thought.

As Paglia states, they were constantly pushing out, pushing the limits of life. To this day I'm still trying to do that, work with a small theatre that allows me to create the objects outside myself that are always screaming to get out, and I've found a way to gratify that producing other people's work rather than my own. The guys I admired when young had "the fire in their belly". That's becoming rare with the actors I audition these days, who seem to be always looking over their shoulders to make sure that nobody is offended.

I think about this when I read about what happened with Darrell Cox and Profiles Theatre in Chicago. Why he hasn't filed a defamation lawsuit against the Chicago Reader escapes me, even as a limited public figure he's got them cold under the bad light argument. He has the "fire in his belly", and that seems to be what is penalized these days. Well, it always was, but now from a new direction, a newspaper trying to make itself relevant by defaming a theatre that seated only 50 people. Moral of that story; when creating theatre make sure that you answer to yourself, and never to a board of directors.  With them, you may be able to stage a play, but you'll never create theatre.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HrscwJYO8G8&t=301s





Last edited on Fri Nov 17th, 2017 11:31 am by KENACT

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