Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Masterclass, on HBO

I was recently clicking around on the television and the word "Masterclass" in the on-screen guide caught my eye. This happens every so often and usually ends in disappointment, for example seeing "philosophy" and such turning out to be a perfume. This time, though, I did find an interesting program called "Masterclass" currently airing on HBO family, in which high school students selected by the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts' "YoungArts" program engage in workshops with "legends in the fields where they aspire to become legends themselves."

The episode was about 25 minutes of playwright Edward Albee entertaining the kids' questions, asking them questions, and offering them some criticism of their work. It is certainly good viewing for youths and clearly they are the intended audience. Yet even adult creative artists would probably like to hear what worked (and what didn't) for someone who has succeeded, tips and tricks, and any insight into the craft. I'd have liked a longer program with more emphasis on technique and details although Albee went into surprising depth with the high-school students, substantially scratching the surface of the nature of writing plays: the essential goal of the artist, how play-writing differs from screenwriting, and his creative process.

The program is certainly well worth watching and hopefully more programming of this nature can follow, since while there is much history and science documentary programming there is little-to-no for the arts.

Masterclass on HBO Family

Sneak peeks:
Masterclass, with Michael Tilson Thomas

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