Friday, August 27, 2010

The Naturalism Blahs

I find myself inundated by 'drama' every now and then, all the familiar tropes blowing in and through all the cracks like sand in a windstorm.  I weary of the incessant whine of naturalism.  Doing Shakespeare is an antidote in a way because his story-telling isn't the most interesting part of anything he writes.  What is addictive is the welling up of passion, of emotion and intellect in almost exact equipoise.  Titus Andronicus pours out his grief in torrents of emotion that remain bound together by the intellect of the verse itself (yeah, it's called "aesthetic distance," I know, I know.)  If Titus were a mere fictional creature expressed in a dreary naturalistic fashion I'd be bored stiff by him.  Rather, he's an aesthetic distillation that burns like acid right THROUGH the story-telling.

Did you ever see the non-musical film version of Sweeney Todd with Ben Kingsley?  Ugh:  what was the point of THAT?  Reduce Sweeney Todd to a story and it's just more blah blah blah.  Wrap Sondheim's lyrical worldview around it and it becomes heartbreaking truth. At this moment I'm tired of pedestrian story-telling, of prose, so-to-speak.  I need a touch of lyricism these days.

1 comment:

Kris Joseph said...

AMEN. You've concisely stated something that I have never been able to express -- a counterpoint to the "en vogue" sentiment that theatre fails unless it is "simple" (i.e. like bland TV drama). You rawk.