6.08.2009

Honesty and Truth

I was going to post on Criticism, but that writing is taking a bit longer than I'd anticipated, so on to a stream-of-consciousness I've been mulling.

Mia and Sean flew over from Dublin to catch me in Prague (yay! yay for friends!). When Mia'd read the early draft of DECAF back in Dec or Jan, she liked it for how "honest" it was. And that got me thinking about the difference between Honesty and Truth.

It's a gut feeling that sent me off on this thought, but I think there are actual differences in the way we use these words in relation to art (or at least in relation to theater). Truth is what it is: there is an implication of objectivity, in other words, a distance. Honesty has an emotional, a personal connotation. "Honesty" is a word people use for texts they like and admire. Rarely do you hear, "that was so truthful."

I'm inclined to think that more intellectual or more abstract works strive for Truth, and that realistic works tend to strive for Honesty. They're both difficult to write, and they're both easy to abuse. Overly "honest" becomes cheaply emotional, or manipulatively emotional. Overly "truthful" is boring or pedantic. Time for a lecture.

It's not so much splitting the difference as it is blending the two. Personal, connected, accessible: "honest" ; uncompromising, objective, exploratory: "true."

IN A THOUSAND PIECES was a great union of these for me. And while she liked the show a lot, Mia's reaction was much more measured than mine. I'm paraphrasing here, but she didn't feel like they needed to hit the pathos quite so hard. "We're on your side already, we're with you. Give us something different."

Are outside eyes the difference?

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