Saturday, May 12, 2007

Retro theatre

It is perhaps ironically appropriate that Pretty Lady should find herself becoming good friends with a person who gets people to pay money to be sermonized in a cemetary.

On May 12, the ninth chapter of Melville’s “Moby-Dick” comes to life in the graveyard’s chapel with a performance of “Moby-Dick: The Sermon.” The interactive drama, in the last two performances of its nine-month run, is a joint effort by a new theater group, the Nimrods, and the Brooklyn Lyceum, the experimental Park Slope performance space.

“The chapel is not used as a location to sit to watch the action that happens on a stage — there is no stage,” Director Joe Rosato told GO Brooklyn. “The action happens around [the audience] as they enter the cemetery gates.” Upon entering the gates on Fifth Avenue, audience members are met by a lantern-wielding guide who will lead them through the dark to the cemetery’s chapel.

Once inside the chapel, the audience will get into the spirit by singing hymns before Father Mapple (pictured at right), played by various actors, takes the pulpit to spew his fire and brimstone: an ultra-dramatic take on the Old Testament’s story of Jonah.

What chiefly struck Pretty Lady, as she sat in the icy pews of a Gothic chapel, being hectored by a madman with Daddy-issues, is how much Rigor of Conscience has fallen by the wayside, in this latter century. We do not sit shivering in pews as a matter of Daily Penance, but as a sort of esoteric and slightly masochistic thrill.


Chris Rywalt said...

Whereas I get my masochistic thrills by reading writers who misspell "cemetery."

Pretty Lady said...

Chris, darling, I could retaliate, but to show my magnanimous temperament, I shall refrain. I am declaring an official moratorium upon abusing you, lest you be Rubbed Out completely, what with that SVA expensive-abuse-by-peer-committee you've rashly signed up for.

Anonymous said...

I thought to stop by, and even leave a note this time. I still enjoy reading your keyboard ticklings, both as an art and as a way.

Even when you play pin the tail on the donkey and win, while I get a tail, I see it clearly and just appreciate the new appendage for what it is. I'm a little harsh on the heart and mind, when I lose myself in the trivial and lose sight of people for my personal passions. Still, you also show me that conversations at my best are also noted and but appreciated.

Not that it can always be conversations of sharing, work does need to get done, and pin pricks are sometimes difficult to ignore from thorny contestants. Even in those though, I see where I might find room for more. The world does not always want that, sadly.

I do hope you have those brief interludes of verbal mutual gifting often enough, if not to sate then, to allow you to stay in form and remember. Wishing you well.

Pretty Lady said...

Hi, Doom! Lovely to hear from you! I do hope you come out of your hidey-hole more often. Isolation appears to make you both pompous and paranoid; but I love you for it. ;-)