When Les Misérables first lumbered onto the Broadway stage in 1987, my daughter had not yet been born, but its theatrical life was so robust that it was still running strong in the 1990s when she achieved sentiency. As soon as she did, she glommed onto it with the fervor only a pre-adolescent can have for things she loves. The songs were played endlessly in the house and in the car, and all manner of professional and amateur productions were attended. She would burst at unexpected moments into renditions of “Master of the House,” and “ Do You Hear the People Sing?” — the first with a perfect cockney accent imitated from the CD.

I had plowed through Victor Hugo’s novel, Les Misérables, in college — impressed by the panache with which Hugo concocted the plot in defiance of logic and common sense. I felt I understood the famous response of… More…

Long live the clowns. Long live the clowns and the jugglers and fire-eaters and dancers. Long live the trapeze artists and acrobats and magicians. Long live all the live performers who entertain us on the stage and street. It seems they are all going to die.

 

A eulogy is sad celebration, but who among us can say that we were surprised when Laurence Shatkin, Ph.D., author of 2011 Career Plan, 200 Best Jobs for Introverts, 250 Best-Paying Jobs, 150 Best Jobs for a Better World, Best Jobs for the 21st Century, et al., recently announced that “stage performer” is a dying profession in America. We were not surprised. We’ve been living in an increasingly automated world for more than a century now. We’ve grown to expect, without much resistance, that modernity will continue to turn… More…

They show farces in the Königstädter Theatre. The people who gather there are thus naturally very diverse. He who would study the pathology of laughter in a variety of estates and temperaments, ought not to lose the opportunity offered by the performance of a farce. The shouts and shrill laughter from the gallery and the second balcony are something completely different from the applause of a sophisticated and critical audience. It is a constant accompaniment without which farce could not be performed. Farce is associated, for the most part, with the baser aspects of life and thus those in the gallery and the second balcony recognize themselves immediately. Their noise and shouts of “bravo” are not judgments of the esthetic approval of individual actors, but purely lyrical outbursts of their own wellbeing. They are not even conscious of themselves as an audience, but would like to be down with the… More…