New Haven? New Heaven!!

Jill Dolan has written a book of which I haven’t read but the intro (no love for academic language), but there’s a lot of food for thought in her premise. The idea is that there are these moments in theater where the whole audience is sort of emotionally unified, rapt in the moment of a particularly engaging performance. This happens at Andrew Lloyd Weber supershows and in community theater and at punk shows….all over. Every once in a while, a show will hit a certain pitch and the entire room (actors, crew, audience, and all) is there onstage together, moving in perfect sync with the action on the stage. Jill calls this sort of moment a Utopic Performative. She proposes these moments as a useful revolutionary tool because they are a taste of this allegedly unattainable thing called Utopia. We’re all in it together, no cultish woo, just everyone feeling and acting unified.

Her question is this: How do we take that taste of utopia and carry it out of the theater and into our lives? How do we use that brief jump forward to change our daily lives once the curtain goes down and the house is clear?

Last night in New Haven at the People’s Arts Collective held a few of these moments and they were beautiful. Each night is a new flavor of beautiful and intense. Each night has a few utopic moments. Last night in New Haven held a very special flavor of emotion that we’re all still riding out the wave of . Thank you!

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