In this afternoon’s panel, Interdependence: Love, Money & Artistic Exchange, we were asked to consider the fact that the ecology should be characterised as co-dependence. I came in from an afternoon talk on the place of critics in theatrical culture, and how artists support these: both fiscally and through giving them the tools and vocabulary to write about the arts. More “amicable” than “terribly frank” as promised, talking about co-dependence I am reminded by one of my favourite quotes on the art of criticism and the intersection this has with the artists they write about:
“Is criticism less important than the literature it criticises? Oh, dear! What I think we should do with this question is reject it. Though conceding that criticism is, if you will, a parasite upon which it criticises, as the misletoe upon the oak, one needs not declare the result inferior. If it has less of quality A, it has more of quality B. The oak may be king of the forest, yet it is the misletoe that one kisses under at Christmas. (What would it mean to say: oak is better than misletoe?)”
– Eric Bently, Thinking About The Playwright (1987)
But more on critics later. In lovely and frank conversations about the nature of a collaborative process, they were as much (or more so) a conversation about failures and hardships in collaboration in partnerships as the success story. What it boiled down to was collaboration, like theatre, is a dialogue, and if one partner isn’t listening, if one partner stops talking, if the partners are actually having slightly different conversations, it is probably going to fall down.
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