Quotes: “There’s so much space between people and towns here, so much time for reflection” -- The Laramie Project, page 6
“‘Too Much Light’ …is like an entire Fringe Festival condensed into one show, the theatrical equivalent of channel surfing. As such it is the ideal entertainment for an audience with eclectic taste and a rapidly shrinking attention span.” -- “Don’t Blink: You May Miss the Show”
I think these two quotes convey an interesting contrast between “city life” and “country/town life.” The city is seen as the fast pace, always moving, always busy being efficient and producing something, full of life, but devoid of direction. Chaos defines city life and meaning is lost. Everything happens and but before anything can sink in or settle, attention has shifted to something else. I think this is part of what the quote from “Don’t Blink” suggests. The country, on the other hand, is seen as an empty space. A place where so little occurs that everyone knows about everything and the slow pace means that analysis and reflection is always possible. The rural life moves at a slower pace, but there is more depth and meaning. I don’t think that either city life or country life are solely defined and limited to these stereotypes about them, but I do think there is a certain amount of validity to and truth in these portrayals.
No matter how much truth is in these statements, I think it provides an interesting reference point for theatre. I think most people have these notions about the differences between city and country life -- though often it is about the life that they don’t have that they hold the most images of. I think if you live in the city you are more likely to see the country as slow moving, even if you don’t feel that city life is really all that fast and meaningless as is implied (and vice versa). So for theatre, these stereotypes of the audience (and the producers of the play) must be recognized and can either be supported or contradicted, in either the subject or the structure. In the “Too Much Light” play, the image of the fast paced, short attention span, inability to go into depth view of city life was the bases for the structure and format of the play. The idea of it being the “theatrical equivalent of channel surfing” is very intriguing. It really is pushing the envelope and challenging traditional ideas of theatre, perhaps in a way it is trying to modernize it in order to keep it alive in the technological world that we live in today. I think theatre still has the ability to hold its own today, even in a more traditional format, but the manipulation that “Too Much Light” has done will, at a minimum, have more draw for a particular type of viewer. On the other hand, The Laramie Project recognizes these views in the subject rather than the structure of the play. I don’t know what direction it is going to take this basis of understanding of lifestyle, but it is beginning by at least drawing a distinction between city and town life.
As far as reflection goes, I think there is much more that occurs in city life than the quotes acknowledge. I have always lived in the city so I do not know what it is like to live in a rural setting and cannot make an informed comparison. However, I do know that city life is not so fast paced that it is the equivalent of a life of channel surfing. There is reflection time in city life, but I do agree that space makes reflection easier. I think both space and reflection are important to have, no matter where you live.