Just came across this quote by the great Spanish poet and playwright Federico Garcia Lorca:
The theater is one of the most expressive and useful instruments for educating a country; it is also the barometer by which one can measure a nation’s greatness or its decline. A sensitive and well-rounded theater (in all its many forms), from tragedy to vaudeville, can change the sensibility of a country in only a few years; and a theater which has been destroyed, where wings have been replaced by hooves, can vulgarize a whole nation and induce them to sleep. The theater is a school of tears and laughter. It is a free and open arena where individuals can expose to the light old or faulty morals, and illustrate with living examples the eternal principles that guide the heart and feelings of man.[my italics]
If ever vulgarized nations were in need of a change of sensibility….
Lorca was executed by baddies in the Spanish Civil War, so the quote comes before the advent of television and film and perhaps Lorca would’ve included those in his claim. Still, he seems to speak to the specific power of the stage and its potential.
recent articles on a dying artform
- 11/2/11 Meanwhile . . . a noir-spoof mystery at the Ruba Ballroom (Arts America)
- 11/2/11 InterAct’s THE HOW AND THE WHY is Well Written and Full of Ideas (Stage Magazine)