Tuesday, March 31, 2009

"...we should treat all the trivial things of life seriously, and all the serious things of life with sincere and studied triviality."

As literature goes, one of the best things ever is well written satire. And that is why I have loved Oscar Wilde since I first read The Importance of Being Ernest a million years ago. I've always thought he would have made a riveting dissertation project. My dog, Baxter, was even almost named Bunbury. (Sadly, my mother, who was at the time woefully unfamiliar with the whole concept of Bunburying talked me out of it. I owed her one since she did allow me to pressure her into naming her cat Rudiger based on my fondness for a particular Simpson's episode.)

So, I was pretty excited to see Ernest was playing at
PCS this month. Not only was it a chance for me to see a favorite play, but if I could get a ticket for my mom too, I could rub in her nose the error of her Bunbury-hating ways. And so it was that we were able to make it to the Armory over the weekend just in time for one of the last few performances of its run. One of the great things about the venue is that it is just the right size. There is no Goldilocksian bullshit about "too big" or "too small" or "too close" or "too far away" because the whole place cuts right to "just right". Just about any seat you get is going to be a good one.

As it turned out, our seats were very close to the front. While my neck and I have to admit to a preference for seats just a little further back, sitting close enough to see the detail on the costumes (which were great!) was lovely too. It was also close enough to see the occasional bit of spittle fly from the actor's mouths, but what are you going to do?

It's all part of seeing a live performance. There is something so different from seeing a play as compared to watching a movie. You hope it won't happen, but there's always the chance that a tongue will trip over a line, a note will be a little off key. And when it doesn't, you feel part of the performance's success. A play seems somehow communal, while going to the movies feels like one of those inward, lone experiences that just happen to take place in a darkened room with a lot of other people around. Not that I don't like movies, but movies and t.v. have become so slick that there can be a distinctly human element missing from them. That humanness is part of the beauty of seeing a play. It is what creates the exchange of energy between performer and audience, and that is a special thing. Watching t.v. is (barely) an activity. Seeing a play is an experience.

If the play were still running, I would recommend it. If I were the kind ofperson prone to gloating, I would gloat that I saw it and you didn't. Instead, I will just say that if you have never read Ernest, you should. If you ever have a chance to see the play performed, you definitely should. And if you ever see it is again playing at PCS, you super should, because they are awesome that way. In fact, you should buy season tickets. You should buy me season tickets. Wouldn't that make you feel good? Giving is the greatest gift of all...

P.s. I think my parking karma still holds. I parked in the lot without doing a lot of searching for a parking spot, because it was pouring and it's just across from the theater, but it was a really good spot and it wasn't that expensive.


Anne said...

I was reminded of how great live performance is when I saw Young Frankenstein. There really isn't anything quite like it. Movies and recorded things have their place, too, but it isn't the same.

When Tim and I had a subscription to the symphony, I often thought how amazing it is to think how this big music was only heard live for so long. Amazing.

Glad the performance was good. Oscar Wilde is pretty spectacular.

Martina said...

He is! I really like that whole period in lit. I really do want to try to go to more live performances. It really IS different. I think I'm going to try to shoot for once a month.