So I've come to a problem part of my show. How far is too far? As I've created the show I was hoping that I would develop a series of burning questions, questions that would pierce the souls and ethical minds of my audiences. The whole experience would make people question the very extent of their own goodness. They would leave in a flutter going, "Did I do that? Why did I do that? How did I allow myself to do that?"
That isn't happening.
What I am finding though, is that the work is acting as a semi-therapy and I think that's wrong. People are coming to the work and being asked sometimes some hard and revealing questions. I had set up some guidelines so that if anyone doesn't wish to answer they don't have to. Surprisingly no one has in the play tests asked to pass on a question. Instead they all seem eager to please the artist and themselves. Audiences are coming in and giving over theses stories of unethical behavior in a form of neo-flagellant. They whip themselves with their own sins in front of each other, daring, or goading each other audience member into revealing more. What does this do though?
Whatever it is, I believe it is temporary. I think we air our dirty laundry only to pop it back into the shelf thinking it is clean once more. I fear the problem is that we are too ready to move on, and that by coming to the work we are entering into an artistic baptism in which we can cleanse ourselves of our unethical behavior but not held responsible for our future actions.
Artists need to hold their audiences to account. We cannot let them just walk away.