It's something Isaac has discussed over at Parabasis - and something we've all (people in theatre, I mean) have pondered over and debated while wolfing down coffee and pie at the Westway Diner at one time or another.
Several years ago, I noted it in a response to an article in the Times about the the state of theatre. In it, several well-known playwrights suggested that whatever the state of theatre might be, it might also be irrelevant.
Here was my response:
To the Editor:
Re ''In Times Like These'' by Kenneth Lonergan, Arthur Miller and Wendy Wasserstein [Feb. 23]:
Certainly, there's nothing like the power of human beings assembled in a room to witness a work of art as the artists create it. In times when people want to keep us separated, that in itself can be a political act. But there's also something that goes deeper. In the dark, in the moment when something happens on stage and radiates out, actors, writers, directors, technicians and audience merge in a celebration of ''aliveness'' that other arts can only suggest.
At a time when both our leaders and our enemies consider killing a means to their ends, could anything matter more?
The letter was published in 2003.