Manifesto Moments

Director Shawn Sides (center) as Elizabeth Johns in The Method Gun. Photo by Craig Schwartz

Shawn Sides, Raelle Myrick Hodges, Guillermo Calderon and Richard Montoya delivered manifestos during Radar LA’s The Future of Theater panel moderated by Mark Valdez, national coordinator for Network of Ensemble Theaters. Here are some of their words envisioning the future of this art form:

Shawn Sides, Co-Producing Artistic Director of Rude Mechs
“My manifesto for the future (with apologies to Yvonne Rainer) is no manifestos! In the future we will all say no to dogma, no to rules about how the play is structured, no to narrative and journey, and no to plot points, no to bookends, no to empathy with the characters, no to the distancing effect (fuck-off Brecht), no to exposition, no to curtain speeches, and curtain calls and talk backs, no to any dictates about how a play functions and what a play is for, because in the future, we’ll all admit, we have no idea.”

“In the future our stages will be full of kids making plays and audiences making plays and shows that are more like parties and less like church. Amen.”

Raelle Myrick Hodges, Artistic Director of Brava Theater
“In the future, theater will celebrate its technical directors and stage managers as much as it celebrates its actors and designers. Particularly when we talk about devised work.”

“The future of theater will all be international work. I’m not sure where people are living where they’re not hearing say French, then English, then Spanish, then Russian, but that’s my walk from Brava to my house downtown in San Francisco. So I think that we are working towards this international world of collaboration that allows a place for all of us to be able to participate and have a space for ourselves.”

Guillermo Calderon, Director of Teatro En El Blanco
“Maybe theater can come up with a solution to poverty, violence and war. Maybe theater can come up with an alternative to capitalism, Maybe theater can make us intelligent and happy. Maybe theater can save us all, maybe. Theater has to be ambitious. Where I work theater is very bad business.  Nobody makes money, but we kind of like it that way.”

“We have theaters. All over the world people gather in small rooms and do something unprofitable, something absurd.  Why do we go? We go for the two seconds of a true aesthetic experience.  A true political, striking, eye-opening moment…”

Richard Montoya, Author and Co-Founder of Culture Clash
“Welcome to the other LA, the shadowy LA, where devised works wait for us out there, lurking in the dark places the parks near taco trucks where poor and trust fund Anglo hipsters alike eat their meat tacos.”

“We need not look for European structure and revolution. Our drama is here in these streets the wild west, the wild kingdom, mountain lions and people walk, deer and coyote on Mulholland, near Sunset, inner Chinatown…”


  1. […] Originally published June 16, 2011 on the blog of […]