Straight Line

Theater is a localized art form. 

The art before you exists ONLY in that specific spot (a production can be filmed, but the camera changes the nature of the art). As such, the location of the staging — AKA: the theater itself — can inform the audience’s relationship to the art produced on that stage.

Case in point:

Is it a coincidence that, on both sides of the Atlantic, Straight Line Crazy — David Hare’s play about Robert Moses — premiered on the grounds of brand-spanking-new arts complexes that are products of Robert Moses-esque private-public partnerships, each of which overhauled their respective neighborhoods, stirring up ample public outcry. Though Bobby died decades before scaffolding went up around London’s Bridge Theatre and New York’s The Shed, the debates waged in Straight Line Crazy sound awfully relevant to the discourse surrounding the urban planning/development/redevelopment/renewal/rejuvenation/gentrification of One Tower Bridge and Hudson Yards.

All those dashes speak to the level of contentious controversy swarming the issue, down to arguments over how to label — and thus properly contextualize — on a basic level these metropolitan behemoths, and Hare’s text is full of conversations weighing the pros and cons of such architectural upheavals and displacement.

In this respect, The Bridge and The Shed programming Straight Line Crazy can be seen as an act of self-interrogation regarding the very walls within which the audience sits, enriching the play by drawing a — excuse me for this one — straight line between the reality of each theater’s construction, and the discussed themes of Bob Moses’ life and legacy.

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