Sunday, January 29, 2006

"Put it on the Radio"

In the film Educating Rita, literature professorMichael Caine asks his working class student and hairdresser Rita ...

Yes, well, now... In reply to the question, " Suggest how you would resolve the staging difficulties inherent in a productionof Ibsen's Peer Gynt'" you have written, quote,
"Do it on the radio. "

"Well", he says.

"Well what?"

"Well, I know it's probably quite naive of me but I did think you might let me have a considered essay."

Further on a bit, this continues...

"Rita, you can't go on producing work as thin as this, not if you want to pass an exam. "

"I thought that was the right answer. I sort of encapsulated all me ideas into one line. "

"It's the basis for an argument but a single line is not an essay. You know that as well as I do. "

She move away and writes for a moment...

"I've done it."

"You've done what? "

"Me essay. "

Michael Caine reads: "In attempting to resolve the staging difficulties in a production of Peer Gynt I would present it on the radio because, as Ibsen says, he wrote it as a play for voices, never intending it to go on in a theatre. If they had had the radio in his day, that is where he would have done it. "

In Craig Westover's and Patriot Radios' Saturday play about vices, Peer Thune, they resolved no difficulties save to spread into wider knowledge Dave Thune's profound befuddlement about statistics. If I quote correctly from memory, "I just don't get it". What else he does not get must await productions of Peer Thune II, III, IV and V . Generally in a discussion of policy decisions affecting the cash flow and livelihoods of the citizenry, and derived from a single scientific report of dubious , even bastard parentage, those with the responsibility for making the decision might at least ask for some competent help. Competent questions entered stage right, left and airwave. Yet for Councilman Thune's part, his one hour on the stage played as a return-fire strut of misconstrued argument, aw shucks and gee whiz. And following on fast, loud frets of "Everybody believes this!", " Everybody knows second-hand smoke is dangerous!", and one "Prove the world isn't flat!" sarcastic exclamatory which richocheted into his face.

Councilman Thune was being asked to explain and elaborate, use evidence and reasoning to clarify the smoky theorems he's pasted into law. Yet his only "proof" was the continual repetition of the magic words," Everybody knows." He's sort of encapsulated all his ideas into one line. That may be an OK way to start an argument. But as the basis to pass an ordinance affecting St. Paul's barstool and eatery world, prove to me that poor player's words are not flat. Everybody knows that.

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