“The lesson is this: it’s not that people don’t care about live performance or live storytelling or narratives that people can go and engage with, it’s that we have commodified it in a way that now means we can only think of “theater” in this very tight, narrow view. We say, “This is what qualifies as theater,” when in truth, you go across the plains of America and you can witness all manner and all variety of theater. You see all the different things that it can mean.

And yes, it’s community theater. I mean, Shakespeare told us with A Midsummer Night’s Dream that sometimes the plumber is going to want to be in a play, and he might even steal the show. Everybody doesn’t have to be royal. You don’t have to invite the President to every show you do. I think the moment we let go of that and realize just how wide and varied and beautiful the tapestry of theater is in America, we will then not have to engage in these really weird conversations where we’re like, “Oh, well, no one cares about that.” That makes no sense.

Look at Snapchat. Look at Vine. Look at Twitter. Look at all the ways in which people are telling their stories every day. People streaming their lives, literally, on Instagram, are telling their stories. I mean, people will literally put their Instagram on “live” and tell you a story. There are those who are trying to tell you and me and everyone else that those forms of storytelling are not relevant, that nobody likes that. Well, clearly that’s not true.”

Tarell Alvin McCraney


Tarell Alvin McCraney on everyday theat…