I experienced Deen’s “Draw the Circle” on April 5th, and thought it was so electrifying that I had to experience it on April 8th also. I come away with many thoughts, three of them follow:
1. I think that art is not merely the show on the stage. After seeing the same theatrical piece on two different nights with two different audiences, I am sure that the ways in which the actor on the stage interacts (consciously or subconsciously) with the varying audiences in the house, and vice-versa audience with actor, changes the art itself. The art occurs on both sides of the open curtain. Performance art can never be the exact same art twice. When I consider 1.the differences among who my co-audience members were, 2.my concurrent thoughts and feelings, 3.the locations of my seats in the theater, and even 4.that at the 2nd show I was already anticipating Deen’s lines, I did indeed experience two different pieces of art.
2. There are relationships among race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality that is undeniable to me and a couple of other folks who believe in intersections of identity. This is the basis of much of my adolescent and adult periods. No fancy surgeons or psychotherapists can take that away.
3. There is an incredible art in which a person can look at a parent-child relationship from a 30-something year span, and trim it down to a 2 minute anecdote in which the character Father says to himself, “I think I will buy this [men’s] polo shirt for Deen [who used to be my daughter].”