Thursday, May 12, 2011

Schopenhauer triumphant

Well the latest version of my JULIA & BUDDY with full Schopenhauer action seems to have gone over very well - the general consensus was that this was a step in the right direction.

The best fun was having Schopenhauer rant about Hegel, and a few other philosophers, which he did frequently in his work. Although if he loved a guy, like David Hume, he was happy to praise him too. His lengthy insulting description of Hegel, and his comparison of Hume to two other philosophers are taken directly from one of Schopenhauer's essays:


Yes! That is exactly how I feel! I’m so glad you wrote everything down. Otherwise all your wisdom would be lost forever.


Not to my contemporaries but to mankind - to future generations - did I commit my work. It takes generations for good work to be recognized.


Oh that’s so true! But on the other hand, the work of Hegel -

(Schopenhauer bristles at the mention of Hegel.)


Vat? Vat about Hegel?


No, you might be upset.


You vill tell me!


You won’t like it.

(Schopenhauer shakes her.)


I must have za truth!


Hegel is also important and influential! The Hegelian dialectic was a huge influence on the work of Karl Marx.

(He releases her.)


Hegel! That commonplace, inane, loathsome, repulsive and ignorant charlatan, who compiled a system of crazy nonsense that was trumpeted as immortal wisdom!


If it makes you feel any better, Marxism is considered dead by many people these days.


Vat of Shleiermacher? Herbart?


Oh they’re practically forgotten.


Und David Hume?


Everybody studies David Hume.


At last, sanity! A single page of David Hume has more value than the complete philosophical works of Herbart, Schleiermacher and Hegel! Zer iss some hope yet for humanity.

A few people felt that there was maybe too much Schopenhauer. I sort of went the full Kushner there. But since Kushner is my favorite contemporary playwright it's not such a bad thing.

Speaking of Kushner - I am going to see his The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures.

It's gotten mixed reviews. The New Yorker's John Lahr likes it, the Village Voice's Michael Feingold, not so much.

And Michael Musto of the Village Voice says:
At various points in the play, they all sit around a table to chew each other out, while, symbolically enough, never eating. (Except for one character who brings her own trail mix. She's pregnant, so she must be life affirming. The rest are clearly vampires!)

And they do gladly indulge in a lot of screaming, confronting, and overlapping dialogue.

When they suddenly act caring, it doesn't necessarily convince.

Then they scream again. Then Molly Price has a terrific scene as a "self-deliverance" adviser detailing how to properly do oneself in without going to sleep too soon. Then the pace slows.

Did I mention that the house has a hole in the wall, and it keeps growing?

And can I call this a brilliant failure?

Kushner's writing has crackle -- there's a great monologue and some exchanges that catch fire -- and he's brave to make his work a spicy pepper pot of scholarly refs, biblical motifs, and ideological debate.

But while I stopped short at screaming "Kill yourself!" this is a work I admired without really liking.

And the title alone takes three hours and 45 minutes to say!

But hell, it's a brand new Tony Kushner play. I don't think I'm ever going to get to see Angels in America onstage, - the Signature Theatre's production was virtually sold out on opening day. But thanks to the reviews, tickets for Intelligent Homosexual were expensive - but easy to get.

I'm glad to see that Danielle Skraastad is in the show. I've been a fan of hers since I discovered her a couple of years ago in a production of Essential Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream - I complained that the actors names were left off the show's publicity materials. I had to do some searching on the net to find out anything about the actors - all of whom are not only talented but have some serious stamina to manage to pull off a 5-person Dream.