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  •  oh nooo!!!! :) (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cfk

    i happened to find a copy of the lee marvin version of The Iceman Cometh and i found it sooo frustrating! it was like everyone was in their own bubble. a conversation going on here, a conversation going on there, no one listening to anyone.... the stuff between frederich march and jeff bridges was like neither character listened to each other throughout, like they just said stuff to each other with no affect. everything seemed so clunky, inchoherant.

    there is the exchange between march and bridges characters throughout, and then bridges is convinced he should jump off the fire escape, march is waiting for it to happen, and then the thud, and everyone else goes: "What was that?" as if they weren't in the same room the whole time.

    i talked with some seasoned playwrights on a yahoo list-serve and they said it is an unwieldy play, but that it's influencial.

    so much of it seemed nonsensical to me. i don't know, that's how i took it. i'm thinking i just have a lot to learn. i think i wanted a "kitchen sink" type play, contemporary, and so trying to get my head around o'neill was difficult. i must say i do still think about it though. so that says something. maybe it's one of those things you dislike at first and then come to respect.

    williams on the other hand is much closer to home. i saw The Glass Menagerie and enjoyed it because seemed more "real." his stuff is more my speed. i'm just learning so much, i'm sure my opinions will evolve about it all.

    i have a handful of plays. i paid for some staged readings that seemed to come off ok. the actors said they liked the material, and i'm pretty sure they weren't just saying that. i have others in the works.

    i envy you, your family having read plays to each other like that cfk. i think i will remember this for a scene: siblings reading shakespeare to each other, and the resultant dialogue. i'm actually working on a play about playwrights talking about Hamlet right now.

    here is part of a scene from one of my plays (just for fun, you don't need to read/comment unless you feel like it: to set it up Joe and Jack are on opposite ends of the political spectrum--always arguing. dot is kind of the back-up to jack's positions. joe is trying to corner jack intellectually about the invalidity of his positions). anyway, thanks again for your diary cfk.

    (A university lounge: Joe, Jack, and Dot, all white males, mid-forties, sit.)

    Joe: Come on Jack, corporate media will show how things are--and how bad--but never Why--much less how they can be changed.

    Jack: That’s baloney, there's a lot of Why in the mainstream media. PBS is about Why, and it's supported by—

    Dot: Corporate interests.

    Jack: Yes. And if you think anybody has a lock on how things can be changed, you're delusional.

    Dot: Not good.

    Jack: You’ve never proved your contention--not even remotely--that there’s a conscious conspiracy between corporations to keep any truth from the public.

    Dot: And this would imply--hmmm--that the corporations have the truth? Or could even recognize it when they see it?

    Jack: Right--yeah. What is the truth anyway?

    Joe: I never said--

    Jack: The truth of corporations is that they’re entities designed to maximize shareholder profits--

    Dot: Legally obligated--

    Jack: And they care very little which ideology they partner with in order to make that happen. Some of the TV and cable shows today, make more pointed attacks at capitalism than I’ve seen in years.

    Joe: Isn’t there a difference between attacking something and showing how to change it? There are Big Whys and Little Whys, Jack. I'm not talking about the Little Whys.

    Jack: Your big why is that there’s a conspiracy.

    Joe: The speaker of the house did not include electoral reform in the first hundred hours, isn't that writing on the wall worth noting?

    Jeff: Did she start with the stuff she thought could survive bi-partisan debate? Did she at least draw a line in the sand? Yes. Is this the end of it? Of course not.

    Dot: Yeah, she’s not done yet.

    (Beat, as Joe regains his line of thought.)

    Joe: Look.... The ideal has always been a government of laws, not a government of men. It’s dynamic. We’re currently saddled with the latter, and they’re conspiring to keep the status quo in place.

    Jack: You’re a cynic. You’re a naive guy who found out the world was nothing what you thought, and you became cynical. Now you see plots and bad intentions behind everything you don't agree with. I'm a skeptic. I face it all as a challenge. I'm willing to embrace what proves true. I suspect the only truth you'll embrace is what you've invented for yourself.

    Dot: There’s a President of whom we could say something similar.

    Jack: And there’s no such thing--ultimately--as a government of laws rather than a government of men.

    Joe: Oh really?

    Jack: Really. Law is written, interpreted, and enforced by men.

    Dot: I got a ticket from a female cop once.

    Jack: There’re certain systems of government less susceptible to corruption, that's all. No government--even with the very best laws can withstand a bunch of greedy, short-sighted men. The last six years is example. They’ve re-interpreted and negated laws--claimed they don't apply.... Joe, a lot of crap that happens doesn't happen because of evil or a conspiracy, but because of weakness, lack of values.

    Joe: It's not about good and evil Jack, it's about right and wrong.

    Jack: Right and wrong? Based on what?

    Joe: Based on the only thing you can base it on: being able to show harm. Lack of information has harmed this society. We have five media corporations telling us the same story from the same point of view.

    Jack: Have you been living in a cave or something? There are websites and blogs that do a great job of collecting provocative stuff. The networks no longer determine what’s news. When Colbert reamed Bush at the Press Club dinner and no major newspaper covered it, the folks on the Internet who saw the clip by the millions wrote The Times telling them they were putzes for missing a major story.

    Dot: And The Times ran a piece on how they had missed a major story.

    Jack: The Internet is where our hope for dissidence is. And since it’s growing in sophistication and influence, and in the diversity of the voices it hosts--that Joe--is good news.

    Dot: Compared to TV and newspapers that corporations control? Yes, it’s a good thing.

    Jack: A growing number go to blogs to get breaking news. It's not a conspiracy we’re looking at, it’s the logical working out of market forces in a capitalist system. And there’s no lack of information, there's more information out there than you or I can possibly process!

    (Beat while Joe tries again.)

    Joe: The reason our Constitution is revered is because it was written so if corruption ever became institutionalized, a future generation could find a way out from under it.

    Jack: Out from under what? The human condition?!

    Dot: Right--

    Jack: The jungle?! That’s where we find ourselves Joe! The jungle! The natural working out of market forces in a capitalist system--is the jungle! That’s what the jungle has become for modern men! It’s a jungle out there Joe. It always has been.

    Dot: Always will be.

    Jack: Go invent something, go learn a trade, go write a movie that makes millions. It’s all out there if you want it bad enough.

    Joe: The natural working out of market forces? So where does a legislative branch fall in your equation? The Constitution was written--

    Jack: For chrissakes! The Constitution was written by white men--no blacks--no women! They were property-owners looking for a way to protect their property!

    Joe: So there’s another thing we disagree on. The Constitution. You think it was written--

    Jack: Government--particularly after Teddy Roosevelt--was supposed to act on behalf of the people to restrain monopolies--corporate greed. In the past six years corporate greed’s taken over! Not because of a conspiracy, but because something sells and something else doesn’t! And no one knows what the next big thing will be!

    Dot: Or how long it will last.

    (Beat.)

    Joe: What about the facts?

    Jack: What facts?! For the last three meetings, you’ve been saying reality is orchestrated, and I’ve--

    Joe: Harry Truman signed the National Security Act summer of ’47--that’s a fact! The Fairness Doctrine vanished during the Reagan Revolution--fact! The Telecommunications Act! The Supreme Court told a state to stop counting votes! All recorded fact, public record, plot-points in a narrative!

    Jack: I don't agree with your narrative thread--and it’s all theory! Theories are fine--but they’re not the same as the truth Joe! You make these statements that are--actually--theories! You can’t prove them in a court of law! What can I tell you?!
    Joe: OK, I'm babbling nonsense.... Maybe we can put an end to this: what does the term Rule Of Law mean?

    Jack: What?

    Joe: And what’s its origin? When you or I talk about the Rule of Law in conversation, or we read it in newspaper editorials, or here it over talk radio, what--

    Jack: Rule of Law?

    Joe: Yeah, the Rule of Law.

    (Beat.)

    Joe (continued): If you’re all you think of yourself you should be able to answer--

    Jack: Stop.

    Joe: And what's interesting--no one gets to decide what it means. Like if I said pachyderm, we'd all know I was talking about elephants.

    Dot: And rhinoceros.

    Joe: We don’t get to decide if I meant squirrels or kangaroos. The Rule Of Law means something specific and it's origin is based not only on historical fact, but material fact as well.

    Dot: Is that rhinoceros-sez-sez? Rhinoceri? Pachydermus rhie-nas-cer-eye....

    Joe (to Jack): Don’t look at me like I’m playing judge. I'm not. I'm a writer asking another writer if he knows what he's talking about. Some things are not up for debate Jack. Objective fact gauges validity. Your opinion is that there is no conspiracy and your opinion is a false conclusion, based on the facts!

    Dot: Oo--that can be tragic.

    (Beat.)

    Jack: There’s no way to coordinate all the elements that would have to be consciously in synch to make your conspiracy work. You think the schmucks who destroyed the Fairness doctrine back in the Roaring Eighties are still here today whispering in Obama’s ear? You sound like any other crank I’ve ever listened to, claiming a grand conspiracy!

    Joe: Who said I claimed a grand conspiracy?! We could be witness to two or three simultaneous conspiracies all vying for supremacy at once. Maybe what we’re witness to is a mad dash by--

    Jack: OK--what’s your conspiracy? Skull and Bones? The Bilderbergers?

    Joe: Don’t try and change the subject. I’m not gonna walk up and down the halls of conspiracy theory with you. That’s not what we’re talking about. Just like we’re not talking about who wrote the Constitution, but what the fucking thing says! What’s the rule of law mean?!

    (Double Beat.)

    Joe (continued): I can tell you if you don’t--

    Jack: The rule of law...is the principle, that Judeo/Christian society is based on.

    Dot: All civilization really.

    Joe: That’s right. Namely that there are laws and the law must be obeyed.

    Jack: This is what it finally boils down to?! Laws have been broken? That’s your conspiracy?!

    Joe: Are you gonna let me finish?

    Jack: Roman senators used to wipe their ass with the laws they wrote! There’s nothing new under the sun Joe! It’s dumb, blind greed that breaks laws--dumb animal desire--not people conspiring--

    [Cut]

    •  Good to hear! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      john de herrera

      "i have a handful of plays. i paid for some staged readings that seemed to come off ok. the actors said they liked the material, and i'm pretty sure they weren't just saying that. i have others in the works."

      Very powerful words in your sample discussion!!

      "Dot: Is that rhinoceros-sez-sez? Rhinoceri? Pachydermus rhie-nas-cer-eye...."

      Speaking of rhinos...

      Have you read or seen The Rhinoceros by Eugene Ionesco?  

      I think Joe could use someone on his side, too.  I felt he was losing ground with two against one.  It reminds me of real conversations, for sure...and makes me wince.  

      This was esp. chilling...~shudder~

      Joe: Harry Truman signed the National Security Act summer of ’47--that’s a fact! The Fairness Doctrine vanished during the Reagan Revolution--fact! The Telecommunications Act! The Supreme Court told a state to stop counting votes! All recorded fact, public record, plot-points in a narrative!

      Jack: I don't agree with your narrative thread--and it’s all theory! Theories are fine--but they’re not the same as the truth Joe! You make these statements that are--actually--theories! You can’t prove them in a court of law! What can I tell you?!

      Best wishes!!!  
       

      "Other cultures are not failed attempts at being you. They are unique manifestations of the human spirit." Wade Davis

      by cfk on Wed May 23, 2007 at 08:59:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  the title you mention (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cfk

        is now in my notebook. will be reading. i've seen the name ionesco, but have not read him, yet.

        cfk! thanks so much for reading that. the sense of joe losing ground was what i was going for. he comes back in the end though.

        thanks again cfk. cheers

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