After being bombarded by music, video, and lights, the audience suddenly finds itself in darkness.
Laughter begins—low at first, then louder, slowly building to a cacophony.
Words materialize on the large video screen: something about prison gates, Jefferson, a sea of amusements....
It’s getting hard to concentrate with the creepy darkness and near-deafening cackles cascading from the theater’s sound system.
Which, the astute viewer slowly realizes, is actually the point.
LAUGHTER VS. THINKING
The message of laughter drowning out thinking is itself being drowned out by laughter. It’s The Spectacle’s attempt to dramatize one of the most famous passages from Neil Postman’s classic societal critique “Amusing Ourselves to Death.”
Experiencing this live in a darkened theater at a poignant moment of the performance is of course different from watching a video in this blog on a computer or phone. As Marshall McLuhan taught, “the medium is the message.”
But a blank screen with words wouldn’t be nearly as effective in this format, so in the following video we’ve included imagery along with the text to illustrate Postman’s powerful message. Still, we hope you’ll make it down to a live show for the full experience, and other surprises that live theater affords.
Culture death: are we there yet?
SUBSCRIBE TO THE SPECTACLE
Receive blog notices, performance info, new video updates, and more.