This past Sunday in the Washington Post, I read of the pivotal moment in one great writer’s life. It was when he saw the Broadway play, Man of La Mancha. He fell in love, he said, with Don Quixote, and with all things quixotic. So if you see a little of Cervantes’ handiwork in the idealism of A Few Good Men or “The West Wing” or The Newsroom or any of Aaron Sorkin’s other work, well, it may have reached back to that point.
Sorkin was five years old at the time.
Reading that article reminded me of an experience I had in the lobby of Woolly Mammoth six years ago. Tim and I met an older couple. Tim got into a conversation with her — I remember they were talking about their shared passion for Shakespeare — while I talked with him.
I had recently had back surgery and mentioned that this was the first show I’d seen since getting out of the hospital. He nodded, “I just picked her up from hospice,” he said. “They give her about six weeks.”
I don’t remember what I said but I’m sure it was awkward and flat-footed. He fixed me with a steady gaze. “Why should we give up the things we love just because one of us is dying?”
Incidentally, we were about to see Bootycandy.
And that’s why theatre is so important to me. It affirms life in the face of death; it teaches that life is funny and exciting and sexy and glorious; and that it has great sadness too; but that sadness is shared by the whole human race, whether it be the fragile WASP couples in an Edward Albee play or the workers at a doomed Detroit auto plant in Skeleton Crew or the cursed families in a Euripides epic.
Theatre helps us to understand that there are things more important than self-interest and self-indulgence, and that it is honorable and rewarding to pursue them.
DC Theatre Scene exists because attention must be paid to great theatre, and, when theatre occasionally doesn’t measure up to needs and expectations, it must be pointed out, gently and thoughtfully.
Our mission is to spread the gospel of theatre. We will never have a paywall, we will never have a shareholder, we will never have another mission. To help us cover our increasing expenses, we look to the generosity of your tax-deductible contribution. We look to it now in this closing week of 2017.
Thank you for being our audience this year.
One last thought: it is unclear, even now, how the new tax law will affect future contributions to DC Theatre Scene. Many of us who now use Schedule A may no longer choose to do so, which means that we will not be able to deduct our charitable contributions. So if you are able to make next year’s donation this year, please consider doing so.
Editor and Publisher, DC Theatre Scene