Wednesday, September 3, 2008
And now for something...
Tonight’s post was intended for the Dramaturgy Cabal, whose constituents have been big fans of a certain cult hit from Canada, but I feel a need to lighten up the joint after the decidedly late Octoberish gloom of my previous post.
If you’ve ever worked in the theater and somehow missed the fabulous Slings & Arrows when it ran on the Sundance Channel, the collected three seasons are currently on sale at Amazon. As outrageous as the show sometimes got, it never failed to be well-observed and wickedly satiric. For theater folk all over the continent, it was plain to see that S&A's episodes could only be written by bitter, bitter veterans of the wicked stage.
Yet here's the twist. As much as the show lampooned the foibles of playwrights, administrators, actors and especially directors, it always delivered on the goods by the end of each season. To show that ultimately all the satire was a love letter in disguise -- to the extended family that theater represents, and to the enduring power of live performance.
One of my favorite moments (among so many) comes early in the second season, when the New Burbage’s managing director, in a desperate bid to pinch pennies, announces that under the new “Austerity Plan,” everything will now be done by interns.
Watch it and weep. And laugh.