Wednesday, September 18, 2019

A Little Night Music?

Certain religions look at entertainment as something approaching sin. The second of the Ten Commandments prohibits graven images and many faiths proscribe alcohol. The cult of Dionysius would be not find a home in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. On the other hand The Living Theater’s Paradise Now could be viewed as a contemporary counteraction to Milton's Paradise Lost. What's Courbet’s “The Origin of the World," but a recollection of the lost pleasures of the unconditional love of the universe. Hedonism or austerity are the antipodes of artistic endeavor with the reality of many creative works falling somewhere in between. Broadway musicals tend to provide escapist fare, but many theatergoers who revel in My Fair Lady forget that the musical is based on a think piece about the relationship between artists and their subjects. If you recall in the original myth on which the play is based Pygmalion falls for his creation, Galatea. My Fair Lady and Pygmalion attract different audiences just like A Little Night Music might not have had the same appeal to viewers of Ingmar Bergman’s Smiles of a Summer Night, the film from which the Broadway musical was adapted. What's the pleasure of disturbing works like Bergman's Persona or Fanny and Alexander, or Othello and Hamlet for that matter? Catharsis would naturally be Aristotle’s answer. Hamartia (the tragic flaw) and anagnorisis (the recognition) were all part of classic Greek tragedy, but is the net result edifying or ultimately just entertaining? Ars longa, vita brevis said Hippocrates.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.