Memory Lane: Street Theater

New York, New York, USA. 8th Apr, 2023. Guerrilla THeater performing arts  troupe in Washington Square Park NYC. Combining new media and ancient forms  of expression unsuspecting pedestrians are takienfor a ride

One of the cultural hallmarks of the late Sixties and early Seventies was “street theater.” It was also called “guerrilla theater,” but people insisted on misspelling that.

At a certain low point in my life, I lived in a frat house taken over for the summer by a street theater troupe. Street theater was supposed to be a form of protest. Which only means it was rigidly Far Left and pretentious. I am told street theater still exists, but I haven’t seen any lately.

They protested The War (Viet Nam), Sexism, Racism, Ismism, the whole seething cauldron of left-wing cliches. They did a lot of drugs. I think the thing that got to me the most was their Planned Spontaneous Happenings. During the afternoon, a couple of the troupe’s stars would get together to plan a Spontaneous Happening for that evening. Mostly this wound up with all of them getting naked and taking a Communal Shower.

They called themselves “the children.” Good night, nurse. Usually they performed in whiteface. They never washed their dishes: you could film an episode of “Nature” in the kitchen. I don’t know what never taking out the garbage was supposed to prove. In the interests of basic health, a friend and I spent a whole day cleaning up the kitchen. In just two days it was as filthy as ever.

No, I don’t miss the Sixties. Please tell me they aren’t coming back.

6 comments on “Memory Lane: Street Theater

  1. The “high standards” of the ‘60s counterculture were surprisingly inconsistent. They protested the things they objected to, but in many cases, they made a beeline for some pretty unsavory behaviors. Drugs were very common, and their sexual behavior was far outside of Sofitel norms. Ultimately, the moral distinctions claimed by these people strike me as having been self serving.

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