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Pick your playwright

April 26, 2011

I came into work this morning and chatted briefly with two coworkers who said they suspected they were characters in a Kafka play. I responded that I’d always hoped if a playwright were writing my life it would be Oscar Wilde.

Minutes later one of my (brilliant) coworkers sent me a link to this:

“Jersey Shore” Gone Wilde is a pretty good way to start off a Tuesday, I have to say.

Now, hours later, what I said still rings true in my mind. I wish a comic genius had written my life, filled it with witty banter and sparkling verbal repartee. I wish my costumes had been professionally and elegantly designed, and that my hair was dressed to perfection before every scene. I wish there was fitting background music and that the acts and scenes were clearly defined, and that all major tensions resolved in clarity, forgiveness, or the appearance of another plate of cucumber sandwiches. Some small part of my brain, in spite of the reproaches coming from the rest of my brain, even clings to the hope that Teddy will be found, alive and well, in a handbag one day. And I wish (and still hope) that my life will be more filled with laughter than tears and that the end will have some sort of satisfying resolution.

I’ve said it before – I’m a comedy girl. I think comedies aren’t appreciated as much as they should be, especially in a world that needs them. I like comedies of multiple flavors – absurdist, dark, romantic (Hello, Philadelphia Story), Shakespearean, buddy comedies, raunchy comedies. I don’t love all comedies, of course – I am not as big a fan of Jim Carey as, perhaps, a comedy girl should be (Dumb and Dumber, Pet Detective left me cold), and I find myself feeling like something was missing after watching a lot of contemporary romantic comedies. But comedy at it’s best makes you realize that you are a part of humanity and subject to the  human condition; it makes you laugh, which is a good thing, and helps you to recognize bits of your life in the bits of life shown on the screen or stage (or page, though I’m mostly not talking about books right now). Really, really good comedy can show you what a thin line there often is between what is tragic and unbearable and what is funny, perhaps partly because so much of comedy is tied up in relief, in the releasing of tension.

I know, or most of me does, that Teddy won’t turn up in my last act, having been found in a handbag and raised to be the president of the United States by a good family in the Suburbs of Portland, OR, but even so, I think I could really enjoy a life written by Wilde (or possibly Gilbert and Sullivan if Wilde is unavailable), with costumes designed by Edith Head, produced by Julie Tamor.

But I sometimes worry that my life has been written by Tennessee Williams, with costumes donated by Goodwill, directed by Tim Burton.

Clearly my agent has a lot to answer for, but I just can’t seem to get her on the phone these days.

What about you?

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One comment

  1. This totally resonates with me. I often think that I was auditioning for a romantic comedy and somehow I got miscast in a dark and twisty low-budget independent film. I miss my old genre. I guess the flip side of this is that the academy awards tend to go to the dramatic actresses rather than the comediennes. I wanted the role of Eliza’s mother, I just didn’t know it would turn out like this. Now I hope I can make her proud given the unexpected plot twist.

    (also: How did I just discover your blog? I think I found it then lost it? Confusing, but I look forward to reading back.)



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