This Thursday, before I shove “traditional” food into my gaping first-world face in celebration of a bunch of religious zealots attempting to eradicate indigenous cultures, I am thankful for many things. One of those things is populism in theatre reviews:
A person can write rewarding plays about well-fed people fretting over first-world problems that are rich, funny, and peel scabs off the human soul. Chekhov is an old example. Edward Albee is a more recent example. The Method Gun by the Rude Mechanicals (about silly, angst-ridden actors in New York) is a new one. Sylvia is not.
It’s not that I’m an indignant radical who clutches his déclassé pearls in horror at the faintest whiff of bourgeois bullshit—I like my champagne and oysters as much as the next enemy of the people. It’s that these kinds of plays cheapen our humanity and narrow our moral, intellectual, and artistic bandwidth with their superficiality and pettiness.
Thank you, Brendan Kiley, for not only hitting the nail on the head (this is why theatre seems to be dying, after all), but for brightening my otherwise white-guilt-ridden, credit-card-maxing horror show of a holiday.