Conversation Starters

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A few randomly selected items from Wednesday afternoon’s ‘Conversations With’ program, featuring monologuist Mike Daisey and actor/playwrite Danny Hoch:

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Danny Hoch: “I call what I do contemporary theatre. The papers call it hip-hop theatre or, if they really want to marginalize it, ‘performance art.’”

DH: “Hip-hop culture is as different from the music and music videos we see about it as Mexican culture is different from margaritas and enchiladas and mariachi. It’s more than its emblems in the marketplace.”

DH: “Hip-hop is now practiced more often, and more purely, outside of the U.S.”

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Mike Daisey: “It’s painful to see how much of the stuff that’s being produced in regional theatres these days has nothing to do with what’s really going on in people’s lives today. I mean, what does the work of George Bernard Shaw have to do with anybody you know? How many of his plays do we really need to see anymore?”

DH: “A lot of the entertainment in our generation exists to disempower people. Its function is to convince people that they’re incomplete or missing out or insufficient somehow. But theatre is an empowering art form. It gives people tools to think with, and often people are unfamiliar with how to use those tools.”

MD: “Human beings in our culture devalue sitting and staring. I spend a lot of time sitting and staring and drinking coffee, just thinking.”

DH: “People walk out of my shows all the time because they thought they were going to see someone rapping or spinning on his head. When I start with the political stuff, they’re like, ‘What the fuck is this?’ and they take the kids and drag them out.”

DH: “Politicians are very good actors, but they make very bad theatre.”

DH: “Despite living in a nation with the greatest communications networks and technology in the world, Americans are the worst communicators in the world.”

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