Fintan O'Toole was making much the same point (in the IT Weekend Review http://www.irishtimes.com
) today that Paul made here last week; that the Scottish model of an itinerant national theatre might be a more appropriate transformation of the Abbey than creating a new theatre for it in the GPO, or anywhere else.
Some quotes from today's article:
[INDENT]''The role (of the national theatre) is to be subversive''.
''The national theatre should always be a space in which the national myths are up in the air and the national soul is up for grabs''.
''The question we should be asking therefore is what the proper place for this kind of free, subversive and fluid theatre might be''.[/INDENT]
Is the answer a building at all? The killjoy conclusion is of course, no! . . . . no civic revitalisation, no 'trophy architectural statement'
, just sink whatever money there might be in the remnants of future Arts budgets into theatre productions rather that producing a theatre.
Like most articles from the Tool, you can't really argue with it, the case is moral and the logic is sound, but it is the same case and the same logic that tells us that the church should sell all it's buildings and get back onto the street with the poor.
The only problem with this flawless logic is that if it was followed, down the centuries, we wouldn't have great cathedrals, we wouldn't have religious art, and it's not just Michelangelo that would have been poorer, society would have been poorer.
What is the role of theatre in society? Subversive, maybe, but there's also an argument that for every theatre-goer that likes to indulge in a bit of subversive society role play, there are thousands of citizens who'd probably get more out of having an actual civic building of quality somewhere in the city to be proud of, or occasionally meet a friend for coffee in.