Various reactions have come up in regards to Mike Daisey’s original blog post about MFA theater programs.
I like how Daisey responds and reminds the readers that his focus was on “institutional choice to charge tuition that have no relationship with the craft they are teaching.” and “If a teacher is teaching in an MFA program that charges a tuition its students can never pay through the craft, the onus is on the teacher to justify for his or herself how this can be ethical.”
Does the teacher, that is within the academic system that charges a total sum of money that can not be paid off within the profession they are being trained for, have a responsibility to justify why this is ethical? Or do they turn the blind eye because they are getting a steady pay check? I agree with an additional post by Daisey when he states:
I would argue that perhaps one of the largest pitfall network effects of a capitalist society is the tragedy of the commonsâ€”in this case it is possible that a universally needed resource (future artists) is being exploited to ensure economic stability for the system today. By telling theater artists today that they must have training, and then making that training out of context to the industry they will be practicing their craft in we hurt the art form as a whole. I’ve had some fantastic teachers in my life, and I love teaching myself. That doesn’t absolve me or anyone else of the responsibility to call out a broken system for its problems.
The thrust of Daisey’s argument lies in the idea that it is very difficult for future theater artists to create theater when they are racked with debt from MFA programs. Most MFA acting programs pride themselves with the notion they are creating professional artists and not teachers. Yet many MFA actors have to look for teaching jobs when they graduate to pay off the debt from school as well as to sustain a living. We might not see the ramifications now, but like the Ponzi Scheme, this pattern of behavior will soon catch up with us.