Cineprobe: Speaking Directly: Some American Notes


Location: Theatre Vanguard
9014 Melrose Avenue , Los Angeles, California 90069


The production and distribution of works such as those represented by SPEAKING DIRECTLY, set in the context of the American political, economic and social framework, is both an arduous and tenuous affair. In rejecting the capitalist imperative of measuring the value of things in fundamentally economic terms (profit) and instead placing value in the broader setting of the cultural, poltical and economic needs of society, such work finds itself excluded from the normal sources of financing for production and from the customary channels for distribution. Thus, while works such as DEATH WISH, plying the frustrations and psychoses of the publci, are readily financed and distributed, depsite their socially negative character, works such as SPEAKING DIRECTLY are relegated to a marginal realm. It is, of course, easy to sell cheap wine to an alcoholic or heroin to an addict, just as it is easy, as Hollywood constantly and profitably demonstrates, to peddle quick and easy psychological 'fixes' to a repressed body politic. It is in this context that I appeal to those reading this to grasp the measure and proportion of these things, to understand that the possibility of the of production and distribution of works such as SPEAKING DIRECTLY is wholly dependent on the emergence of a support base composed of those who work in our have access to institutional mechanisms and funds, and who share the belief that our society is greatly in need of of a careful and compassionate re-examination of its material and psychic foundations. [Source: Theatre Vanguard Program Notes, 1976]