January 17, 2003 10:50 AM

I felt a need to answer, from an artistic perspective, a post I happened to run across about the needlessness of perfection. I disagree with the notion of perfection as focused on the "little things"; I think that's a small definiton of perfection.

That small definition of perfect relates to what I find so bad about so much theatre. Realistic theatre is often, in fact, so much about the small details of things (relationships, particularly) that failing in any detail means complete failure. If your play is an old man and his daughter on a park bench having a normal conversation while the actors move like normal people, the minutiae of their relationship had better be not only perfect but compellingly so if your goal is for me not to be snoring.

Ah, that was a complete sidebar. I hate the sort of theatre that is actually about realistic detail.

What I mean to say is that the effort of perfection is a key element of artistic endeavor. Art is shallow without it. But the artist's definition of perfect is not as simple as "the little things". It's the totality of the thing, the art product. The great finality of your effort.

It's pursuit. It's struggle and effort. When an artist strives for perfection (which is, most likely, unattainable), her work (the idea) keeps moving after the final product. Great art gives you the feeling, as the audience, that it's still moving forward as you watch it. Getting that impression from a static medium is astounding; getting it from theatre or dance is what gives those arts transformative power.

In seeing the pursuit, you see the work of the thing. You see the art behind art.

I tend to generalize this to life. Dedication to the effort is what makes it worthwhile. Like the idea of flow - changing yourself by pushing at the limits. It's hokey, but it's still valid. And that's the larger definition of perfect.

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your wicked thoughts

Just wanted to say, I agree with you here entirely, actually -- we should ultimately aspire to perfection, or something akin, in an artistic creation. But I also think we needn't be perfect at every step along the way. And I feel -- strongly -- that we shouldn't let the fact that some of our works will inevitably be flawed prevent us from attempting them (or even publishing them, if they still have value) at all.

these are the thoughts of matt on January 18, 2003 03:03 PM

now, that i agree with one hundred percent. i almost want to say 110% even though it's physically impossible, just so i can be adamant enough in my agreement.

these are the thoughts of april on January 18, 2003 03:08 PM

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