Here at Black Swan Theater . . .
We believe in ultimate theater.
We believe with the Greeks that ultimate theater is a ceremony
which dissolves the barrier between the World and the Spirit.
The god of theater is Dionysus, and Dionysus is danger, night,
intoxication, dread, beauty, and holiness.
Good theater entertains, amuses, informs. Great theater disturbs,
inflames, transfigures. We are happy achieving the good most
of the time, but we are looking perpetually for that disheveled,
sloppy, midnight-oil-burning, visionary script which through
the production process gathers itself to greatness and changes
what we expect from the theater. We don’t mind the cheap,
the salacious, the grubby, for we believe that the sublime is
the outgrowth of messy aspiration rather than of tidy professionalism.
We believe, with Yeats, that Love has pitched
his tent in the place of excrement. We believe, with Dante, that love has pitched
his tent in the place of celestial fire. We know that love never
has pitched and never will pitch his tent in the bank lobby or
the Wal-Mart parking lot.
We believe that if the audience hears from our
stage what they came expecting to hear, we have failed them.
We believe that if a playwright writes the play
he set out to write, he has failed himself.
The Muse is a surprise and an affront, and those who do her will
do not recognize themselves in the doing. The actor must act,
the director direct, the playwright write better than he knows
how, or there’s no point in bothering.
For modesty’s sake we are secretive in our ambition to
be the voice of a wild god, but that is, in fact, our ambition.
Not everything we do will be done well. Error
and failure are aspects of the real world. But we will long for beauty even when
we fall short of it.
We will never consciously take the safe path.
We believe that any theater which does not include
at least one new script a season is a parasite on the genius of the past.
We hate the ten minute play. Theater is not televison. We hate
when theaters say “we would like such-and-such a kind of
play on such-and-such a subject,” for if the Muse speaks
rarely to the playwright, she speaks never to the administrator.
We believe that even when we are mundane or forgetful,
art is holy and transfiguring. Therefore we will try to stand aside,
to get out of the way and let the play have its way whenever
We know that some people will be reading this
and rolling their eyes and congratulating themselves on superior knowledge of
Real World. Well, some people have nothing to do with Theater,
however much time they spend putting on shows.
We hope we have not let our enthusiasm get the best of us. Or,
if we have, good will come out of it. We are willing to look
absurd, to flop, to try again. We are not willing to be unfaithful
to a vision which is given once, twice in a lifetime, or sometimes
We hope we are given time to grow into our majestic
We hope that if you’re a playwright, you’ll send
us your best. If you’re close enough to do so, give us
your strength, your talent, your money. If you’re reading
this too far away to know us, then wish us well. Burn a candle
to the wild god some windy night.