I haven't written much in the last week because I've been taking a brutal antibiotic for my sinuses which saps my joi de vivre. That plus the heat meant I spent most of the July 4 weekend inside, reading books and working on my artist web-hosting project, soon to be launched.
The best thing I read over the weekend was the Talley Trilogy of Lanford Wilson. The plays take place on July 4th and 5th in various years.
We saw Fifth of July at Signature Theatre in February, a couple of days before the February 15 peace march. It's still a very relevant work of theatre, about the loss of idealism in the wake of the Viet Nam war and the backlash against the 60s. The other two plays take place in 1944 on the same day. One, "Talley's Folly", takes place in the boathouse where Aunt Sally of "Fifth of July" falls in love with her future husband Matt Friedman. The other, "Talley and Son," takes place in the house up the hill on the same day. I have read few works with the kind of faith in humanity and idealism, even in the face of a vicious and stupid world, that these three plays contain. I don't feel that I'm much of a literary critic, so I'll close with some quotes from two of them. I had tears in my eyes when I heard the first one at Signature.
Fifth of July
June (with difficulty controlling herself): You've no idea the country we almost made for you. The fact that I think it's all a crock now does not take away from what we almost achieved.
Gwen: Anyway. You get there. Five hundred thousand people, speaker's platforms, signs thick as a convention, everybody's high, we're bombed, the place is mobbed, everybody's on the lawn with their shirts off, boys, girls; they're eating chicken and tacos, the signs say: End the War, Ban the Bomb, Black Power and Gay Power and Women's Lib; the Nazi Party's there, the unions, demanding jobs, they got Chicano Power and Free the POWs and Free the Migrants, Allen Ginsberg is chanting Ommm over the loudspeakers. Coretta King is there: Jesus! How straight do you have to be to see that nothing is going to come from it? But don't knock your mother, 'cause she really believed that "Power to the People" song, and that hurts.
Matt [referring to post-WW II prosperity and the blindness that materialism produced]: It's hard to use your peripheral vision when you're being led by the nose.
Sally: I'm sorry, I wasn't listening. I was trying to figure out what "ratiocination" means.
Matt: Oh, forgive me. I don't have a speaking vocabulary. I have a reading vocabulary. I don't talk that much.
I realized while searching Google for more information that a video/DVD exists from 1982 of "Fifth of July" with Swoosie Kurtz, Richard Thomas, and Jeff Daniels. I just ordered it.