Monday, June 9, 2008

Asheville Arts

When it comes to theatre, I do like spectacle. I have been known to cheer and applaud when a big, crazy set piece rolls on stage or a particularly brilliant light cue comes up. But my favorite kind of theatre is a little more organic. You really only need three pieces to make theatre of any kind: space, performer and audience. So the plays or performances I see that stick most closely to those three elements, yet still manage to create a world and move an audience, are my favorite experiences. I particularly like seeing performances that feel like Mickey and Judy decided to round up their friends and put on a show in the barn in order to save the farm.

Saturday night, Michael and I attended a performance benefiting the Asheville Community Theatre (ACT). The show was called Divalicious and featured eight local Asheville personalities competing for the title of ACT Diva 2008. The contestants ranged from seasoned performers to a local restaurateur and a city councilwoman. It was loads of fun, with a wide variety of wild, campy, touching performances from each of the participants. It was a well-produced show, but still managed to feel like a bunch of friends who got together to save the farm.

Seeing all the talent Asheville has to offer, I wonder why anyone who can sing and act and dance would be in the mountains instead of in Hollywood or New York. Then again, Asheville is developing a reputation as a music and cultural arts center. The guy who is fixing our fence told me that musicians from all over the country are coming to Asheville to play the club and festival scenes as a career starting point. And if the fence guy knows that, there must be something to it. There are lots of street musicians and performers on the weekends, which also follows the three basic elements of theatre: space, performer, audience. A sidewalk is just as viable a stage as the Staples Center. You can get better seats on the street, too, and don't always have to go through a broker just to get a floor seat. Stupid Ticketmaster.

I'm looking forward to seeing more theatre here. The Montford Park Players are having their annual Shakespeare festival this summer, rain or shine. And ACT's next offering is I Hate Hamlet, which is one of my favorite Paul Rudnick plays. Next weekend, we'll be attending another fundraiser for the arts, which brings our tally up to:

Arts Fundraisers Attended: 2
Arts Performances Attended: 0

So we need to get some tickets to stuff soon, before all our money goes to fundraisers and we can't afford to see the arts we're supporting.

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