Monday, February 26, 2018

What Play Captures Modern Life?

I have been thinking about big blockbuster shows, especially the kind of show that tells us something about the times we live in.  Did Wicked do that?   It's got some interesting political undertones, but they're very subtle.  Are we living in Oz?  Perhaps.

I had big blockbuster shows on the brain before I went to Wicked, in part because I heard an episode of 1A which was mainly about the original production of Angels in America, but they briefly mentioned the revival. As I recall the show, it would probably still have plenty to say to those of us in 2018, even though it's set in the mid 1980's.

And then I started thinking about plays and a play that had something important to say about what's happening in the U.S. today--what would it cover?  With the current political events, our minds might go right to gun control.  My brain goes to sea level rise and habitat loss and the variety of animals going extinct every day.  My brain does not immediately see a play, although I do see a fabulous potential for costumes.

I remember reading some of the best plays of the 80's and 90's when they were anthologized in the English 102 textbooks I was using:  Fences and M. Butterfly.  I was talking about M. Butterfly and the wonderful conversations about gender that the play prompted.  One of my friend/colleagues asked if I had read Angels in America, and said that I must.  So I did.

And when I saw that the show was coming to the Kennedy Center in D.C., I knew we must see it--and so we did.  And we went back a month later to see the second half.  What would it be like to see the whole thing at once?  It was amazing to see both halves very close together.

I wonder what plays are anthologized today?  It's been a long time since I looked at a variety of textbooks to see. 

Time to start moving--spin class awaits.

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