Death of a playwright (and a dream)

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

I recently read "Death of a salesman" by American playwright Arthur Miller. This is his most famous work and it deals with the day in the death of an average American family man. It's tragic in the sense of how it exposes the self delusion and pointlessness of the capitalist "American Dream". It's haunting in the way it mirrors the lost dreams and hopes of a generation (and many before and after it). Sadly, Miller himself passed away recently, and I take this moment to salute him and his masterpiece.

I also took in "The house of blue leaves" by John Guare and I thought it was absolutely delightful. It's part madcap farce and part tragicomedy. The characters are zany, tender, cruel and heart breaking. It's about the day the Pope first visited New York in the 60's and what one American family did during that day. It's a riotous romp that involves mistresses, a trio of ruthless nuns, an assassination attempt, a mental institution, the Hollywood movie business, murder, etc, etc, etc. "All the things we hold near and dear to our hearts", hehe. I highly recommend it.

Both these works must be a treat to catch onstage. If you ever get a chance, by all mean go, I promise you won't be sorry. But before, a warning... they both deal heavily with a common theme: what happens to people when life does not live up to their expectations. And it ain't a pretty picture. Is this how it inevitably is? Is there any way not to look back on your life and not be disappointed? Maybe we shouldn't dream so high or so far, maybe all we do is set ourselves up for falls. Food for thought.

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