Thursday, May 26, 2005

First Preview of Stuff Happens

They're laughing, applauding, and even guffawing. I think David Hare, with whom I've had a few conversations now, has a hit on his hands. When the pro-war monologue in the beginning of the show got applause, Mr. Hare thinks that's because there are some pro-war people in the audience. But this is LA Theater. Not exactly a conservative hot bed. The pro-war speech comes from a new labor leader in England, and it is compassionate, about how we've freed an opressed people and they're better off now. I think a lot of Americans, even the ultra-liberal LA theater goers feel a lot of guilt for what's happened to Iraq, and the speech helps relieve that guilt by suggesting that because Iraqis are better off now, everything else doesn't matter. Maybe they just clapped because they want to believe that.

Problem is, as I told Mr. Hare, as he nodded, we have to question now, are they better off? Are less people dying everyday now? Is sewage, electric, transportation, and all the other measures of a society BETTER?

I see a lot of nodding in the audience, a lot of head scratching, and I hope to catch some conversation bits on the way out tonight. I hope this thing does well. We need more people questioning the direction this country has taken, and we need more art to make people think about it.