Archive for the ‘Theme Songs’ Category

HENRY IV, PART 2 at Chesapeake Shakespeare Company Concludes a Tale of Fathers and Sons

For Prince Hal to attain his destiny, he like all sons must replace his father, and if in this case there are two fathers, it simply means that there are two to surmount, surpass and survive.

Words Fail, But Humanity May Prevail in TWILIGHT, LOS ANGELES at the REP

Most of the characters fail to use words properly to convey directly what is important to them or us. But as I have said, the underlying problem is larger. It is a mismatch of moral paradigms. The possibility of rationally settling the underlying issues by a dialogue among the participants is hard to conceive. This play seems instead to be more about making people grasp, at a gut level, the speakers’ personhood,

Compulsions, Secrets, and Ecstatic Polyphony: FUN HOME at Center Stage

A major work of art, in a quintessentially American genre, an important representation of an under-represented group that advances understanding and dialogue, and beautifully produced. Audiences should embrace this production.

Post-Apocalyptic, Classically-Imagined Tragedy: THIRST at Contemporary American Theater Festival

There is a thing Terrance can’t let go of, like Lear, like Othello, like Richard II. And if you’re a tragic hero and you can’t let go when you ought to, then bad things will happen to you and those you are close to.

And I Kinda Like It

The greatest gift that starting my own column gave me was finding my voice. I was expressing my distrust of the powers that were, my awareness of the evils wrought by the powers that had been, and my bitterness about the whole situation, with all the honesty and erudition at my disposal. I had never heard myself talking that way before. And I kinda liked that sound.

Pantheistic Consolations

This was the synthesis I finally arrived at after much struggle: I would never again deny the substantial possibility that my faith was completely in vain – and that, if so, there could be little reliable basis for an equanimity based on faith or on anything else. On the other hand I would keep on going to church, holding fast to my perception that some things, like human decency and the existence of existence, still seemed more plausibly explained in a universe with a God in it than in one without. My certainties were gone, but I had at least decided on my course. Big questions. I always look to art to help me tackle big questions. This time was no different.

Still Chilled

And now my mother was not there. So what did that mean? Had she and our relationship just faded out of sight, as Cole Porter so aptly phrases it? Up until that very point, I would have answered that the relationship was still there, and that, even though I could no longer see her, we were still connected. That, in fact, our relationship would be fully restored one day in an afterlife. But I could not feel it. Not this time; I’d felt it somehow when I lost my father and when I lost my stepfather. With Mother there was no sense of assurance, none of continuity. And I was feeling exactly as the lover in Porter’s song dreaded to feel: left “in the chill still of the night.”


Sideways chimed with my updated Dantean thinking. Clearly, if there was a God at the helm of the universe, He was a devious Bastard. All the bad things there were, all the pain and sickness and terror, all the death, somehow – or so my faith urged me to believe – were unimaginably transfigured into agencies of providential good. And I believed they were.

Trip Hop

Somewhere along the line, maybe while I was uncharacteristically unwinding in the baths with my son, it came to me not merely that I was happy, but that everything around me seemed wondrous. The way the winter sunlight cut through the denuded trees and blinked upon our car seemed a revelation – of what I cannot say, but maybe that’s merely because words are lacking, not because nothing was revealed.

Litigation Isolation

The song that spoke most to me in my isolation was Caruso, Lucio Dalla’s song. I couldn’t translate Italian to any great extent, but I got the gist: the opera singer, alone on the water, with his regrets. I didn’t have that many regrets at that point, and those I had far fewer and less painful than some of my contemporaries were racking up. Still, in my isolation and subject to the incessant responsibilities of the trial, the gloomy melodrama of that song and indeed the whole album, were just the thing.