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In Which Inspiration Does Violence to My Person

May 24, 2011

I decided to start this blog several months ago and haven’t yet posted a single post. The reason? Probably just laziness. Also because I’m somewhat a perfectionist and wanted to have a doozie of a first post before I started blogging in earnest. Obviously this did not happen.

But now I have been struck with inspiration.

This, then, is a not-so-doozie of a first post in order to explain why the succeeding posts (for a time) will have seemingly nothing to do with the title.

The Intent: Philosophical Musings

“Screw the Pendulum” is a reference to my contempt for the popular imagery of the pendulum: the idea that philosophical thought–or culture or emotion or anything else, really—it all swings from one extreme to the other. The hypothesis is that we won’t be happy until we rest in the middle or find the balance, or “walk the line”—if we’re into mixing metaphors (which I am).

Why do I hate this? Because I much prefer the idea of vibrancy to stagnation and therefore hate the hope-in-complacency encouraged by the above picture. I’d take Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy‘s Cross of Reality over the Pipe Dream Pendulum any day. Peter Leithart does a much better job summing them thing up than I ever could, so I encourage you to read that here if you want to know what I’m talking about. (‘Tis long, but the most pertinent part is at the end, labeled: “IV. The Cross of Reality.”)

The Problem: No Comedy Tonight

But, as I said, inspiration clobbered me over the head the other night and I won’t be writing about that at all. At least directly. You see, I had this conversation on Saturday night with a dear friend about how theater these days is so depressing. And if life is deeply comedic, we wondered, shouldn’t our theater be as well? Shakespeare understood this. After all, Macbeth may be a tragedy for the title character, but it is ultimately a comedy for Scotland.

Shakespearean musings (of which one should have plenty) aside, during the course of our conversation, we decided that the only solution to the depressing theater problem is to put on a Comedic play of our own. The problem with that is neither of us is really a playwright and Shakespeare is pretty much the extent of our straight play knowledge.

The Solution: 100 Days of Tony

I have thusly decided that I have to start somewhere. And that finding a modern Comedy might as well begin with reading every Tony Award-winner for Best Play, from Mister Roberts (1948) to Red (2010). Furthermore, to ensure that I actually think about what I’m reading, I intend to compose a short response to each one (300-350 words). I intend to proceed with this experiment in mostly chronological order, depending mostly on library and local used bookstore availability. But 62 plays is a lot of plays and I don’t want to commit to this project for an inordinate amount of time, so I’ve decided to take no more than two days to read each one. That said, I will be skipping any plays I’ve already read. This is mostly an excuse to never have to think about Willy Loman again, as I was unable to find any redeeming value at all in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman. (Full disclosure: I watched this play five or six years ago and may have just been too immature. But I doubt that just enough to remain averse to all things Death of a Salesman.)

While I rather doubt I’ll find any deep comedy in modern American playwrighting, especially the award-winning kind, I’ll at least have a little fun as I expand my copiousness. So let’s kick this thing off, shall we? Tennessee Williams’s The Rose Tattoo, ahoy.

Let the 100 Days of Tony commence!

(Okay, so I fudged the math a little. Last I checked that wasn’t a crime. I claim this as poetic license, like the prevalence of unreasonable search and seizure on TV cop dramas.)

One Comment leave one →
  1. robinjharris permalink
    May 24, 2011 2:29 PM

    A Truzzi-blog, yay! I’m excited to read it. I’m not as interested in theater as you are, but I’m interested in what you have to say about it.

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