After going to see Medea last night, I realized there is a significant difference between art and performing art. I suppose, before, I just lumped everything into one category without really analyzing all the idiosyncrasies, simply saying to myself, “I like this. I don’t like that.” I don’t think art should be simple, but I do think it should be enjoyable—this production of Medea was anything but.
First of all, setting anyone? No, I have not read the original play, but I don’t think that should be necessary when it’s being performed right there on a stage in front of you (I’m seriously doubting people attending the Globe Theatre sent away to Amazon for their own personal copy of any given play or hopped on their MacBook to get a quick SparkNotes overview so they could fully appreciate this “art” -_- ). In any case, initially, I wasn’t clear whether this was supposed to be present day or not—was I the only one questioning the giant electrical box/high tension wires? And then I thought, “Okay, maybe this is some sort of contemorary sci-fi take because—correct me if I’m wrong—I don’t think pleather, chinos, or aluminum walking canes were around back in ancient Greece.
Second, I am aware this was supposed to be the interpretation of Medea according to the respected UCLA Live and Lenka Udovicki, but I looked around at the audience a handful of times during the production, and I’m pretty certain I wasn’t the only one going, “Umm what in the world is going on here?” I kept thinking, “Are these people transfixed or are they just bored?”
This made me recall something my 8th grade math teacher told me: “I read because I’m supposed to.” He said it as though it was some requisite for being a real adult (he was all of 30 or so). Anyway, yesterday this got me thinking, maybe people “appreciate” art for the same reason: they are supposed to. I’m sure the majority of people, adults anyhow, would like to consider themselves cultured, or in some way urbane. Could it be that this fixation on social worldliness is what perpetuates the constant recycling of that which is perceived as “art”?