Posts tagged ‘Theatre’

November 3, 2011

Swimming to the Cambodia Inside his Readers

In “Swimming to Cambodia,” the monologue theater piece that became a popular movie, Spalding Gray plays Woody Allen’s oft-portrayed, anxiety-stifled character better than Allen ever could. The audience’s fascination may come from the conviction that Spalding Gray is not acting, but telling the truth, and he is. Although the genesis of his story may be seem spontaneous, the monologue is indeed as well-written as it is truthful.

The deeper fascination for the audience is the realization that we see through the character and the actor into the naked mind of the man called Gray with both dread and sympathy. Though we see that a person who is seriously neurotic or depressed is not us, the fascination grows because his character draws a picture so completely. In “Cambodia” Gray’s acting is equal to his writing ability.

Now, in ‘The Journals of Spalding Gray’ a review by Ron Rosenbaum of Gray’s previously unpublished personal story, we find the truth of it. Rosenbaum says: “It’s distressing to read the way happiness generates sadness and terror in Gray’s psyche, because his work could be the source of so much pleasure to his audiences.” Not that Bob Dylan ever accomplished any success as a poet, but he once said “A poet is a naked man.” I think that applies to Spalding Gray in his journals. See for yourself in this excerpt from the book which is now available for us to read: here.

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October 27, 2011

Was It Christopher Fry, and Not Shakespeare, Who Wrote the Plays?

How was it that Christopher Fry, and not the man called Shakespeare, wrote the plays? Did he time-shift himself back in time to the year 1600 and compose the plays in retrospect? If so, how did he become so literate in theatre without a former Shakespeare to teach him thus? How is this a good premise for a movie?

I mean, not even Shakespeare himself knew who he was: you can tell by the scripts. “To be, or not to be, that is the question: Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer / The slings and arrows / . . . For in that sleep of death what dreams may come.” This writer had no idea who he was—that’s why he wrote the plays. He wrote them to find out. Every writer is a huge mystery to himself and that’s why he writes. The spark of human imagination is only touched off when imagination and hands come together in the act of writing. The imagination sparks words which sparks memory which sparks more words which sparks dreams which sparks more words which sparks imagination again and again until a writer has a whole bonfire going. And like a bonfire, he does not have control over it, as much as he might hope to. In one sense a writer is merely a man or a woman like any other. In another sense he or she is the entire sum of the imagination and dreams and the experience of writing which is captured by his fingers.

As you can see, the premise matters little: the play is the only thing! Is it a good story? If it is, readers or movie-goers will find it. Will they be entertained? Perhaps. Will they learn anything about the real Shakespeare? No!

For more blah, blah, blah about this see:

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