Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Cialis Now and Then



There’s the famous scene in Annie Hall where Woody Allen tells Diane Keaton they have to get the kiss over with so they can get on with the date. So in the same spirit let’s get the Cialis joke off. Contrary to the disclaimer in the television commercials about calling a doctor if you have an erection for more than four hours, wouldn’t it be best to call all your friends?  But there are actually other things wrong with the commercials. In theater circles there used to be a battle between adherents to the Stanislavski, Moscow Art Theater Model, known as “the method” and practiced by the Actor’s Studio in the States and the say Meyerhold creating a mask model of acting. The ferocity of the conflict between the two was tantamount to the struggle between capitalism and communism. The actors in the Cialis commercial seem to be suffering from a conflict between these two kinds of conservatory training. On the one hand they are plainly attempting to create realistic characters by delving into their own psychological histories, in depicting the dilemma of a man who wants to be functional with the woman he loves when the right time comes. But  they are plainly straining under the burden of the realism. In fact as we know all kinds of unconscious drives contribute to sexual performance along with physiological capability and so the actor who taking a Willy Loman approach to his portrait of the slightly over the hill middle-aged man will likely be suppressing his inner Ubu Roi. Naturally commercials are just that—commercial. So they can’t aspire to the highest levels of theatrical art. The technique of Jerzy Grotowski’s Poor Theater will probably never be invoked in the making of a Cialis commercial. But that’s not to say that the commercial wouldn’t have profited if it broke down the putative fourth wall. As Picasso said, “art is the lie that tells the truth.” Directors of commercials for drugs like Cialis might be advised to throw verisimilitude to the winds when they deal with the problem of erectile dysfunction.

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