So an historic Inauguration day has passed, yet the world seems the same. Yes, we’re still at war, it’s cold, and many are broke, unemployed, uninsured and embittered. In short, we have become besieged by the mosaic of garbage left at our door steps from the blessedly former administration and, as a result of much of the above, artistic organizations (particularly theatre companies) are suffering greatly. After all, it is not unusual to conclude that when many cannot pay their rent or mortgage or medical bills, they may have a hard time rationalizing paying for theatre tickets. That said, it is also fair to say that without a collective push to support the theatre and other creative-based, not-for-profit companies, the arts are at the mercy of the “current fiscal crisis,” which we absolutely cannot accept.
From a psychological and literal perspective, it is extremely dangerous to put the arts solely at the mercy of the affectionately-titled “current fiscal crisis” because-- as has been mentioned in no uncertain terms from our current President and State Governors to many, many professionals in the financial advisory industry-- this fiscal bullshit (I’m sort of paraphrasing) ain’t going away anytime soon. And, as we’ve learned from the last 8 years, fearing the worst can breed irrational behavior,…such as, for one, the re-election of George W. Bush!
To that end, the philosophy of the average citizen must be to carry on more than ever, just as the philosophy of artists, theatre companies, and other artistic organizations should be, regardless of the Man on the Hill.
So, yes, less than a week after our new and refreshingly literate President has been sworn in, the world still seems the same,…but there is a difference: the catharsis that many felt at the election of President Obama, and the reason for such an emotional euphoria at his appointment, stems, I feel, as much from its historical relevance as it does from people (of all races) feeling that the US Government now has the capability of being a true extension of many Americans’ individual philosophies and does not limit one’s ideals and life aspirations to a dream. Anything is possible, and we should believe that as much when “times are tough” as we should when taking champagne baths.
Now this is not to say that I’m expecting anything miraculous anytime soon from our new administration, particularly with regards to arts funding, but at least it seems that the positive intentions are there, such as focusing on strengthening the country as opposed to stubbornly believing that our success lies in others misfortune. But regardless of the triumphs or failures of our new government, we must live our individual lives and pursue our individual dreams unabated. And if we’re artists, we must continue to create. And if we’re theatre companies that have a true interest in producing original work, we must remain determined to support that mission.
And if we’re anybody anywhere in this country who can get to a theatre,…we must do our best to set aside a few bucks to support the work of our artist friends and spread the word about work we believe in so that the theatre can triumph over the elements,…just as it’s been doing for years.