Friday, February 24, 2017

mmdcxcv

Saturday Morning Scurvy

It seems to me, or, I have it quite
pronounced in my mind that nothing
written (and hardly anything that
purportedly happened) before the
late 19th Century amuses me at all,
except Shakespeare and Aristophanes.
While I was an academic actor and
studier of all things theatre for many
years, I always wanted a seriously
serious dramatic role.  And on those
rare occasions when I would be cast in
one (there were only to be two or three,
in the end, it seems to me), I inevitably
found them quite tedious, which, in turn
diminished my desires and my hopes of
becoming a “famous” star on a soap opera,
most hopefully, of course, Days of Our Lives,
or The Young and the Restless, both of which
I have memories of watching with my mother
at age 3 or so.  I came to realize that the life
of a ribald actor (even with the occasional little 
death of absurd silence would occur some evenings 
during a scene where the audience would be 
on the floor the following evening) was for me.
Comedy.  The sound of gasps and spurts, 
followed by uncontrollable laughter were divine.  
So, being a student of theatre I’d often have to read
plays set before the twentieth century, and I’d 
constantly to wonder where on earth the laughter 
occurred, if ever, when they were originally performed,
as I flipped ho-hum from page to page.  I’d be told a line 
would be hilarious to the attendees.  I was befuddled.  But
I’ve always considered myself a now kind of guy, if not
way too into the present, to any given present.  This
explains, perhaps, why in 1991-1992, I devoted my
masters’ thesis to covering the subjects of post-
modernism, using as splendid examples (and a
colorful backdrop) the works of opera director 
Peter Sellars’ adaptions of the Mozart-da Ponte
operas: Don Giovanni (set in a Bronx slum), 
Le Nozze di Figaro (which was set in Trump Tower)
and Cosi fan tutte (set in a diner). I even had the 
opportunity to participate in Peter Schaffer’s wonderfulI 
stage production of Amadeus So, not to tag on a moral here, 
but, now that I think about it, it seems to me from these skewed 
experiences of mine that Mozart was pretty hilarious.  And he 
lived well before the late 19th century. Ah, things i retrospect.
Who we become is never who we think we are, anyway.   
I stand corrected. 
Go figure.