[I coulda put up Merman, but it wasn't quite the same after all these years, and then there was a wonderful John Barrowman clip that inadvertently got into the Nudo-O-Scan Thing, but it was way too Gay, so we'll have to go with Patti at the Tonys -- as if that weren't. Ha!]
Yes, well. Theater. doG, I love The Show Business.
I've been strangely nostalgic the last few days. Nostalgic about some of my earliest times in the Thea-tah, as it were, and I found something online about a Grand Reunion of some of the Old Farts I worked with when we were all just Kids Putting on a Show in the Barn.
The Reunion happened this summer. I had no idea, nor in fact, did some of the others who were involved with that theater company who I've stayed in touch with over the years. Ultimately something like 300 souls attended. We weren't even invited. I'm not at all miffed about it, though. I'm more intrigued than anything else. The event apparently came to be called "Summer of Healing, Summer of Love." And I'm bewildered and even a little stunned by that title. What... is... that... all... about? "Healing?" "Love?"
The copy that goes with the pictures of the Reunion is singularly uninformative; it's more of a Castle In the Air type of elegy (and surprise that not everybody is dead yet) than an actual description of who was there, what they've been doing, yadda, yadda, and where they are now.
I know what some of them have been up to. If you go back far enough and trace things forward, it's quite a company, perhaps of fools to be sure, but there are plenty many Tony-winners (and nominees, oh, poor Harry, you was robbed again!), Oscar winners (and nominees, here we go again), TV personalities, movie Stahs, comedy circuit performers, and on and on. It was all based on the West Coast, of course, and back in the day, there was a very strong Texas accent to the operations, through connections with the University of Texas, but ultimately it boiled down to a lot of ordinary kids with some kind of talent, putting on shows -- lots of them -- for a very appreciative audience. Some of those kids went on to make their marks in the movies, on teevee or on Broadway and regional theater stages, but a lot didn't. Some are producers, directors, authors, and whatnot, but there are plenty of carpenters and salesmen and lawyers in the mix, too.
I brought a few skills to that experience, but I learned many more, and I will never forget it -- nor will I forget some of the key people who were part of it.
And there I was staring at the pictures of the Reunion, and with a few exceptions, I was saying, over and over, "Who the hell is this?" Just as I'm sure many of those who were there were wondering, sotto voce of course.
Still, it's nice to see that not everybody from those days is dead yet.
That said, one of the key understandings I got out of that experience in the long ago was some sense of the nature of theater itself, and why it was such a key element in Ancient Greek civilization and why it became a key in so many civilizations to come.
The fact that Theater as an Art Form has been in such decline for many years in this country is intriguing, too.
As Theatricality becomes ever more pervasive, the Theater itself goes into sharp decline.
This seems to be a universal truth. As Theatricality spreads, Theater declines.
Which brings us to Today's Security Theater Event, in which numerous passengers are planning on Theatrical Action to disrupt the Theatrical Presentations of Security brought to us by the TSA.
Passengers who don't want to be Porno-Scanned or Groped to get on their flights will appear at the airports in kilts commando, they say (sure they will), or disrobe at the gate, or demand to see a supervisor before they are assaulted and molested, or they will be hauled away by the Authorities, or... well, you get the picture. And the Officers of Airport Security will snap their gloves, and they will yell, and some of them will laugh, and the Domestic Herd will be processed almost as usual, despite all the florid threats to shut down the gates if the passenger-herd acts up in any way.
Theater. It's all a Show.
During the Controversy (Teach the Controversy!!!!), there has been an astonishing amount of grift and hucksterism, very obvious to those who are alert to these things. The whole thing is being played, by all concerned, from the many Libertarian opportunists at the bottom of it all undertaking disruptive "actions" of one sort or another, to the media impresarios who see a profit potential, to the government agents scrambling to catch up.
It's supposedly "all about the Constitution."
Fuck that. No, it isn't. If only it were. But then, if it were, it would be very different. The airports would have been shut down long ago, and the People would have said... "No." They wouldn't put up with this TSA crap, even if it meant the airlines would go extinct. If the Constitution were so very important, it never would have gotten to this point.
But it's not about the Constitution, it's about attention. "Attention must be paid!" Attention must be paid to such a person! He must not be allowed to fall into his grave like an old dog... Et cetera. It's a line from "Death of a Salesman" that shreds complacency at What Is. And that's what this protest today is ultimately all about.
Stop and think about what you are submitting to and think about what you have become. Pay attention.
That's the message of the Theater, from its origins in the mists of the past to today. And today, the Theater ain't what it used to be, and Theatricality is everywhere. Pay attention.
Not to the Show so much, but to What Is. The Show is only there to help you See.
[Here's Mitzi! What a sweetheart... Jeebus, until I saw this, I had almost forgotten about the summer that included turns by Mitzi, Lena, and Debbie. Those were the days...]