Saturday, August 31, 2013

On Miley, Shakespeare and the Cult of Sustainability by Emily Sloan-Pace

I awoke 48 hours ago to two painful realities. The first, as The Onion so presciently pointed out, was that Miley Cyrus's performance at the Video Music Awards was the nation's top story, warranting "above the fold" space usually reserved for news more pressing than "20 year-old gyrates awkwardly." Better critics than I can deconstruct the problems of "The Miley Show," including her acts of cultural appropriation, the hyper-sexualization of the female body or the widespread slut-shaming and name-calling that this dance routine has inspired.
The second reality came via email, and hit far closer to home. This notice informed me that, despite meeting all ticket sales goals, Shakespeare Santa Cruz (a repertory theater company that runs productions and events almost year-round) would be closed at the end of its 2013 season. Done deal. Any explanation or discussion of this decision would not be in the University's interest. This theater in the redwoods had been a part of the University of California at Santa Cruz campus (30 miles south of San Jose) for more than 30 years, the last 3 of which I have served as dramaturg. I have watched these productions with fog rolling in as a magician/actor began his incantation, as if nature itself was taking a cue from us. I have caught my breath time and again marveling at the talent before me. I have heard the chimes at midnight.

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