I had the displeasure of wasting 90 minutes of my life in Atlanta on July 18, 2009 watching this production. It was hosted by the National Puppetry Festival.
In short, this play was crap. No adjectives, no modifiers, just crap. Of course, who am I to say such a thing? The production has gotten rave reviews. To be fair, this was presented to a group of a few hundred people who practice the art of puppeteering at a week-long conference they had this week in Atlanta. I was along for the ride with my wife, it was late, I just sat through 90 minutes of boring awards, and I just wanted to go back to our hotel room and get some sleep. But after reflecting on the play over night, I still think it’s crap.
Read on to find out why.
The production was put on by Lone Wolf Tribe. To start on a positive note, the production and tech was incredible. A lot of talented people worked on this, and it was full of metaphors and symbolism that maybe a tired old guy just didn’t get at the time. And I wasn’t offended due to any religious beliefs, and I actually think it’s good to stir it up at times, but I think this play was just trying to be bizarre for the sake of it, not because it supported a desired end message or feeling.
Come on…. I know how these overly-artsy productions are supposed to be like. It’s like staring at a Jackson Pollack painting. Most people will say it looks like crap. Some will say it’s brilliant and then your normal person will start to doubt themselves and think “maybe I’m missing something” and in order to appear like you are not some ignorant hick who lacks culture, you start to agree.
That’s all I could think of as the audience broke out in thunderous applause at the end of the play.
Another thing it reminded me of is some rock songs. You have a few very talented musicians who perform a song that is crap. The guitarist rocks the notes with perfect procession, the drummer is tight, the vocals and keyboard work is incredible, but the bottom line is simple, the song is crap. Certainly there will be a group of people who appreciate the skill required, but that’s not the point of music. It’s not a sporting event, it’s a feeling, an emotion, a story. It’s an entire package that achieves an end.
So that’s what I think this play was really about. A disturbing bunch of random imagery thrown together to appeal to a certain segment of the community that likes to run around pretending they are more cultured than the average person because they can “get” something like this, while all of those “idiots” can’t.
Art isn’t the only industry that suffers from this, dare I say, elitism. I’m in the field of IT and it makes me ill when IT people explain things in such a way to appeal to each other and shut out the ignorant masses. There’s just no reason to make most technology discussions with lay people all that difficult, but IT people love to do it.
Academia suffers a lot from this as well. By golly, I paid a ton of cash for my doctoral in ed degree so I’m going to wow you all with my knowledge of irrelevant bullshit instead of just sitting down and calmly thinking about what problem needs to be solved and how best to solve the probem.
I’m not actually suggesting the play be dumbed down for the ignorant masses. You could dumb this one down with a monitor off to the side of the stage explaining everything that is happening in great detail, and it’d still be crap.
p.s. The scene where God sticks a gun inside his mouth and tries to blow his head off but fails because he is immortal was particularly touching. Thankfully I don’t carry else I would have considered doing the same thing.