The Rules of the Game- if only Vaclev Havel were here!
Regretfully, it is all too rare for us to see performing artists putting themselves on the artistic line with an active participating audience supportive of their skills and playful strategies, an undisputed norm for Australian sports women and men. Sporting audiences understand the difficulties, skills levels and rules of the game. When they participate as audience they can universally and immediately experience the impact of artful play and are thrilled when it occurs. When the play is mediocre and uninspired the audience, justly, become annoyed and demand better.
How does the public come to be so critically appreciative of sporting games?
We begin at, or before, primary school playing the games. From the moment we are conscious, we see on TV, the best players in action during the season. We involve ourselves in the games and become part of the league systems either as players or as friends, family and supporters of the game. Across the nation talent scouts watch through junior ranks in cities and country areas to pick potential young players. There are clear training grounds for the talented, usually leading on a merit basis to well paid professional work.
For the local performing artist, the road to the top league has quite a different structure. To achieve success at home is impossible. There are no teams ( companies) in which to make progress through the grades. Somehow you have to get to the top with no ladder. The first step is to leave town. All who wish to discover the strength and knowledge to struggle through an existence as an artist must leave and mingle in “the big smoke”, in order not to be submerged in parochialism. Feeling the level of commitment that artists in other places put into their work and being in contact with that energy on a daily basis is rare for us to experience.
As I write this I hope a knew generation have discarded the “shame” era that entrenched our culture in a denial of self expression. We are capable of being brave enough to lay open the nerves that touch our souls. Once we have the courage to do this publicly then perhaps we will laugh and cry at ourselves. We have a heavy load to face up to, historically. A colourful narrow mindedness, bloody expansionism, genocide, corruption, greed, theft and a loss of worth and value. No wonder previous generations have been unable to open themselves up for observation. What kind of destruction still lies under the wholesome “sunshine state” exterior?
The process: if there are a mixture of skilled performers and creators from outside who encourage those from inside to increase their skills level and risk their very natures then we can begin to talk infra structure. If on the other hand we continue to import “the stars” from outside who add nothing of their knowledge back into the community we will always be forcing our creative forces to leave and return as successful outsiders. This is no new concept, examples are numerous. In Paris, American jazz and blues performers who were unknown at home and began their careers as struggling artists were acknowledged away from their homelands. For native Parisian artists today it is extremely difficult to make it at home. Local trend setting entrepreneurs search only for novelty. European culture cries out to be pushed to feeling something new or something forgotten. Here, on the Gold Coast, the culture doesn’t cry “boo”.
Why? Because we don’t know what we’re missing. We are unused to accepting an artistic aspect of development into our regular daily life. Artists are unable to combine forces and develop training techniques and live in constant states of provocation. There is no continuity for audiences watching the growth of emerging artists. A lucky break here, means being sent straight to TV where any real contact between artist and public is lost. We need to see live performers regularly and encourage a new generation of live performers to become active from the junior levels right through from C’s to the highest levels of play. This framework creates skilled audiences and provides the infra structure for really inspirational play.
Perhaps when you said “I have no special requirements” you in fact do