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Mopping Up

So it’s all over for us. As the eyes of the nation turn west- and south-ward, Philly can ditch the political drama and go back to plain old murder and mayhem, right? Not quite. The Theater Alliance of Greater Philadelphia‘s listserv was burning up in the weeks leading up to the primary, and now, in some sort of exquisite water torture for liberals, the vicious debate will be laid out onstage for all to see Saturday, May 3, 8 p.m. at Second Stage at the Adrienne.

A few things astonished me about this heated back-and-forth.

  • First: there are conservatives among drama professionals, like, real red ones. Though I can’t quite figure out what could possibly be in it for them other than an inherited bias, they are vehement and as convinced of McCain’s relevance to their lives as any hedge fund trader or military engineer. 
  • Second: People actually “went there” on Clinton, making pantsuit jokes and the like. Theater people. And I don’t think these posters were even the gay ones, who could get away with it. 
  • Third: No one really wanted to go there on Obama, which, I guess, is at least one positive sign. Maybe we can credit Rev. Wright for serving as the receptacle for this contest’s racial enmity and diverting it from the candidate himself. This effect even seems to have spilled over into the real world. Remember in New Hampshire when those dudes yelled, “Iron my shirts!” at Hillary? We never saw a corollary pair of douchebags running around in blackface at an Obama rally (I’m sure they were somewhere, of course, just not out in public). So thanks, Rev. Wright, at least for that.
  • Fourth: The listserv’s, er, discussion had remarkably little to do with the candidates’ relationship to the arts, which was, to me, distressing. There was even a brief flare-up about abortion, but nothing, NOTHING about the issue that most directly affects everyone on TAGP’s e-mail list. Business-owning republicans won’t shut up about taxes; shouldn’t arts professionals be slightly concerned about their candidates’ approaches to arts and education? Hello? Anyone?
  • Fifth: Show folk will find an excuse to argue about almost anything. 

I’d love to see the Second Stage event used as a means to discuss the issues surrounding our careers and the candidates’ potential effect on them, or perhaps to galvanize the theater community into advocating that the arts and arts education take, if not center stage, then at least a supporting role during this political season–something I’m hoping every listserv member can agree upon. Though rehashing the old political divides will no doubt provide the same entertainment value once offered by the Romans to their people in the form of bears and slaves, moving forward with a November game plan has far more to do with creating an actual theater alliance.

Gladiator v. tiger

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8 Responses

  1. “Ain’t this ‘ere United States great”

    The relevance of ‘Artsy’ issues to the political process has always been minimal and ‘Artsy’ individuals who regard the topic in national light are at best deluded.

    The country suffers, like any disfunctional alcoholic from cravings it cannot satisfy. Our obsession with race is a particularly nasty addiction which we hope to cure. Not with treatment, but as in the case of family genetics, by covering up, lying and distracting ourselves from the issue.
    Young people campaign en masse for Obama, without understanding his positions. The older, an supposedly wiser, lecture them on the virtues of Hilary. Neither can articulate the political positions of either and like the aforementioned drunken uncle reach for the botlle of self-gratitude.

    Meanwhile in the shadows stands a man who knows that however hard the addict seeks to cure his addiction he remains beholden to the man who defines it……..

    Comments Drama Queen, please don’t tell us you’re too busy…

  2. It’s not enough for you that I wrote a review this morning, worked on a feature, blogged and am reviewing another show tonight, along with being an exemplary wife and mother? Fine.

    I don’t consider education an “artsy” issue, and neither, I imagine, do you. No Child Left Behind is a disaster for our future because it is the antithesis of a well-rounded education. When schools throw their money into preparing for standardized testing, so they can continue to be funded so they can prepare for more standardized testing, every ancillary skill–creativity, problem-solving, and yes, the very logic discussed by Mr. Wittgenstein, also suffers. In addition, cities that invest in the arts thrive, while cities that ignore them do so at their economy’s peril. The arts are the canaries in a civilization’s coal mine. I argue that individuals who regard the topic as having minimal relevance to national issues are at best brainwashed.

  3. Oh boy……… What a lot of drama….

    I believe I wrote political issues, not national issues, there is a subtle difference between the two.
    Acting on our convictions can be nasty reminder to ourselves that all of us, including Wittgenstein, have used the mop of irreverance and swept.

    Be careful you know who lifted the carpet……..

    Is dinner ready yet????

  4. Well, drama is my (blog’s) middle name…

  5. I thought the article comparing Gibson et al to Stoppard’s characters was very good actually. Quite possibly worthy of a larger audience.

    Watch out Ellis Hellican, the ‘Drama Queen’ has put pen to paper and her soul may not be for sale…

    Mephistophiles awaits you in your study…..

  6. Thanks, but are you implying that the audience here isn’t large enough? Why, we’ve had 71 visitors already today…

    I’m off to the theater now.

  7. No I’m telling you it should have been published nationally…….

    Enjoy the theatre and don’t spill your peanuts…

  8. Drama Queen.

    We need a commentary….. Tell us what’s happening in the world of theatre…

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