Monday, September 9, 2013

tragedy and comedy

In college, I was active in theater. And I was fascinated with tragedy. If I had a choice between tragedy and comedy, I would choose tragedy every day of the week and twice on Fridays.  The first play I chose to direct was Oedipus Rex. I did not choose it because it was a fine display of the three unities of time, place and action.  I chose it because I was intrigued by the descent of a man of nobility. What madness would drive a king to gouge out his own eyes?

My beloved drama director, Patsy Miller, was of a different persuasion. Once we were discussing potential plays that could be produced the following season. Of course, I suggested all kinds of tragedy, both modern and classic. But she repeatedly rejected my suggestions. “Ugh,” she said, “that is such a dark, dark play. I think the world needs more beauty and light. There are so many ugly, dark things being produced these days. Let’s do something beautiful.”

Her words stuck with me but did not persuade me right off. For some reason, I continued to prefer tragedy.

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