Thursday, November 5, 2009

Busy Week

So...I've had a busy week. For those that don't know I'm am heavily involved with theatre at Rose Hill. I usually Stage Manage the shows for the Mimes and Mummers (a group whose ranks include Allen Alda and G. Gordon Liddy) but I was offered the position of stage manager for the FET (Fordham Experimental Theater) production of "The Twilight Zone" and I couldn't resist.

As a result, I have been unable to attend any campus activities in the last two weeks because I have been at rehearsal making sure everything was ready for opening night (which was tonight).

For those of you who don't know (and that's probably many since I've only made about three blogs (and this is a lot of parenthesis for one blog)) I am something of a theatre fanatic. I have worked as a technician or stage manager in a number of theatres (college, corporate (Anheuser-Busch) and Off-Off-Broadway) in my career. Whether or not this becomes a part of my "real"-life I do not know, but it is certainly one of my more enjoyable hobbies (I designed the lights and ran the lightboard for fellow blogger Sara Devany's dance performance once).

As a result of this fascination I recently purchased and began reading a history of the Theatre of the Absurd. This particular genre of theatre is unique because it focuses not on characters or on plot but on the interaction of characters and often it focuses on the inability of human beings to communicate.

In the case of Samuel Beckett and Eudgene Ionesco the issue of communication orthe futility of human interaction is often a theme. In an abstract way this is also the theme of Sunny Stalter's article about the Third Avenue Elevated Train and its eventual demolition.

In this article Statler discusses how people in New York felt a nostalgia for this elevated train because it let them see into the lives of others whom they could see through the windows they passed while riding the train. As we discussed in our Approaches to American Studies Seminar, however, this was only an imagined community because it was not reciprocal. The people in the windows did not have a glimpse into the lives of the train riders in the same way that the train riders had a glimpse into the lives of the apartment dwellers.

This got me thinking, what is an imagined community and what is a real community. People of the Third Avenue El felt they were in an imagined community with all of the people whom they passed while riding to work, people from the same state feel they are part of the same community of others from the same state (Kurt Vonnegut calls this the greatest of granfalloons). So what exactly constitutes a real community, and real communication as the Absursist authors wanted to know.

To be honesy and fair, I don't know. Its know living in the same state, its not liking the same music or the same beer at the bar. It seems that the only undeniable community is that of blood relation, but if that were the case then communities would be very small.

So, community, as I believe it (and as the absurdist playwrights believed it couldn't exist) is in effective communication. The communication of truths, whatever these truths are about. Two people on the D Train are members of the same community if the train stops midway between two stops and they look at each other in frustration, thereby communicating their feeling, two people are also members of a community if they have watched the same movie and laughed at the same moment, thereby communicating the feeling of happiness. Community and truth are both ethreal experiences that often transcend colloquial language but can be exposed through a ride on the subway or through a play of great merit.

No comments: