Snobbery in Theatre

26 Jul

(An article you’d read – if it was in the Sydney Morning Herald.)

Recently, a friend asked me if it was true that theatre was filled with pretentious wankers and self indulgent children.

‘Of course not,’ I answered, ‘You’re forgetting the stuck up snobs.’

Jokes aside, if you were to come across an example of snobbery in theatre, the understandable reaction (apart from surprise) would be to ask for its cause.

If snobbery was to exist in theatre, it would for the same reason it exists anywhere – a lack of confidence.

And, in the world of theatre, there’s plenty of reason to lack confidence. There’s limited opportunities and loads of competition. Evaluation of our work is arbitrary and therefore unpredictable. And the majority of the population doesn’t even notice what we’re doing.

But why does a lack of confidence lead to snobbery?

In the simplest terms, we choose to fake it til we make it.  If we don’t feel superior, one solution is to act as though we do. Feelings follow behaviour. It’s a remarkably powerful psychological tool. And, in this case, a tragic one. If I choose to deal with the challenge of others by dismissing them, I’m committing a crime against humanity, and I’m the primary victim.

Choose the view

Choose the best view

Snobbery creates the the shallowest of theatre. (And that’s probably the least of it.)

So whats the solution?

Be more confident.

Is that ridiculous advice?

I don’t think so.

If I can decide to act as though I’m better than others, I can just as easily decide to act as though I consider myself their equal.

And then watch the theatre I make.

Theatre that speaks to my audience.

Veronica Kaye

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One Response to “Snobbery in Theatre”

  1. sancz (@fivewalls) July 27, 2013 at 5:02 am #

    i’m a theatre snob. massive theatre snob. i’m a snob about theatre that’s not serious, and I’m a snob about theatre that’s too serious. Preachy self-important theatre? Ugh. theatre that’s overtly political? snobby snob snob… theatre that’s trivial or fluffy? snobbed. Theatre that’s conservative? the worst. Also I think I’m a reverse snob too…

    And yet i rarely see a show I don’t like…

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