Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Futureproof

Will's host family is a couple of ultra-cool 60-something people named Tom and Sue Custer. They have a renovated beach house out on Auck Bay and they had all of us over for dinner last night (salmon and halibut that they caught just the day before). Whale traffic is more common than street traffic out there. This was the same couple that described the Northern Lights as ... "that first time you drop acid; where you feel omnipotent and insignificant at the same time." Cool people.

Their daughter, Ros, was there with her husband. They're both musicians and somewhere around our fourth glass of Reisling, we decided it would be good to have a political discussion. I find political discussion with people who match my ideology to be more tiring than any joust with a red-neck, so ... I was inching my way out the door when we stumbled on the subject of funding for the arts.

Sigh.

I personally think the state of the American Theatre has less to do with money and more to do with the writers we have to work with. When Edward Albee can re-write the same cynical, directionless, uninspired assaults on heterosexual America and snag three Pulitzers in the process ... when Rebecca Fucking Gilman can toss off another Diet Shaw string of talk-show conversations with the erudition of a Newsweek Conventional Wisdom factoid ... when Donald Margulies can whack off to the obvious and mock Mamet as he emulates him ... and when Mamet has vanished into genre exercises and plays so elliptical they evaporate like an overstuffed souffle ... we're kinda screwed.

Wit
Art
Rent
Doubt
Proof

All unctious monosyllabic declarations of ... something. Wit and Rent notwithstanding, I'm gonna write a play called Poop or possibly Life just to see if the po-mo coronation still holds as long as the ideas aren't too challenging or, if they're Challenging, that they're challenging by the sheer force of their unabashed nihilism. I know I sound like Kostya right now, but ...

It's time to sandblast the quotation marks from every New Yorker's speech balloon. It's time to burn Artaud at the stake and see if he signals through the flames. And the next time some jerkoff with a mail-order MFA wants to do Hedda Gabler on Mars, we will lock him in Denny's restaurant with nothing but a pen, paper, and all the buffalo chicken strips he wants. He will not be allowed out until he was written something that in no way resembles Hedda Gabler. We must punish every stage-side shrug with rotten tomatoes. We will stalk the deconstructionists until they can't sleep at night, sneak into their garages and reassemble the statues they shattered. We will make every scene shifting wannabe earn their pass at time travel by stapling together the latest non-linear mindfuck into its original form and tattoo the words "OBEY NATURE TO COMMAND IT" backwards on their foreheads so the next time they get lost in their own iris trying to find the meaning of life, they'll consider living as a possible method of discovery.

A friend of mine remarked that this blog was suspiciously bile-free. It's still true, for the most part. But, I'm sorry: "the incurable illness of Romanticism" is due for a relapse. Hopefully a terminal one.

9 comments:

LuckySpinster said...

you should write plays.

Anonymous said...

You forgot "Well".
Let's be complete, now!

Don't trash it too much though,
smarty, cause I liked it a lot.

;-j

Anonymous said...

Naomi Iizuka, Melanie Marnich, Jordan Harrison, Daniel MacIvor, Kirsten Greenidge, Neil LaBute, Stephen Adly Guirgis, Gina Gionfriddo, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Jose Rivera, Craig Wright, Julia Jordan, Lynn Nottage, Sarah Ruhl,Chris Shinn...

Anonymous said...

O' articactor on meltdown - Isn't farce the ultimate deconstruction of everything we hold sacred? And if not for the outrageous (if oft times painful) experiments of newly minted directors, we might all still be nailed on proscenium arches. With all due respect to the classics which I love, I wouldn't want to restrict any artist from standing on his head to inspect a script - somethng interesting might fall out of his pocket. "The things one takes seriously are one's weaknesses."

--Trillum

Anonymous said...

Proof was good, ya wee shitelicker.

But point taken.

argon said...

I enjoy your critique, when are you going to write a play that proves your point?

LuvDusty said...

I liked Proof.

I totally second the thoughts on Albee..my god, the man is an overblown, uptight fossil..and writes like it too!

The Deceiver said...

PROOF is good, but it's essentially a LIFETIME Original Movie with a bunch of math in it.

Albee is a fucking charlatan.

And LaBute has managed more to the cock-up side of the balance than worth. THE SHAPE OF THINGS...ugh, trendy excrement.

American writers would be well served to study up on the masters from 1935-1955. Plays were titanic things then, universal in scope, glorious in word--and it was an era that was truly unbound stylistically as well--we more or less fake it today.

I had this thought the other day. If I were to die having never acted in a Tennessee Williams play, than I would be merely disappointed. But if you told me today that my fate is to never act in one ever, I'd just quit acting altogether. What would be the point to it?

Anonymous said...

Is there a digital-quill equivalent to turning your microphone off?

xo,
DCS