One of the things I’ve realised as an artist is the fact that there is little or no guarantee that the work I create will have a life of its own after my time. In some cultures, there is an impulse that makes people want to preserve things, whilst in others, the work either fades away or no one remembers the person who created it.
In the performing arts, people seem to remember the conceptualists more than other artists, so playwrights, composers and choreographers are more likely to be credited for their work than pure performers. Films, records and other such releases have helped the cause of performers, so now we can remember the magic of certain movie stars or rock idols in ways that were not possible before.
There is something about the world of time based performance however, that will always have a place. Stage performers are remembered for their ability to create magic in real time, even though the moment is only witnessed by those who can be bothered to attend particular shows.
But even though there are many highly skilled performers treading the boards nowadays, who can really say (with their hands on their hearts) that there is a lot of memorable work being created and presented in the current era?
Every day, I read the evening paper and see four and five star reviews of performances. I wonder what terms of reference are being used, since I haven’t been really moved by much that I’ve seen or heard in recent times.