Monday, May 17, 2010

Present Mirth

You don't stop laughing because you get old.
You get old because you stop laughing.

There was a joke yeas ago that I liked. An American journalist went to spend some time in The Soviet Union in the 50's. While there he visited a Russian farmer and his family. He asked the farmer "What do you think of Nikita Khrushchev?" The farmer stood up, opened the front door and looked around, then peered out of the windows. He motioned for the journalist to follow him as they went out to the barn. At the back of the barn there was a small room with a door. The farmer opened the door, lit a candle on the small table, then closed and bolted the door. The two men sat across from each other at the table and finally the farmer leaned over and whispered "I like him."

I was doing a play in Boston. There is a place there called The Common where people can stand up and make a speech about anything they consider important. One afternoon between performances I went out there and found a guy standing on a box and declaring that Khrushchev should not be allowed into the country. Niki was coming to speak at the UN, and this fellow was trying to prevent it. According to him no Russians should ever be allowed to come to the USA as it would give legitimacy to their "evil communist society."

It was pointed out to the gentleman that Khrushchev had a right to speak at the UN since his country was one of the main and founding members of it, that the only way he could get there was by landing a plane at a New York City airport and getting in a limo to be driven through our sacred streets. Furthermore he was reminded that the Soviet Union had a consulate in the city and a permanent group of representatives there. So much for not allowing the Russians in. It wasn't long before people were chuckling and shaking their heads in approval of what the others were saying. It's no doubt The Cold War was a serious matter for the world, but this man's objections were laughable.

Today, when I see or hear some authority, whether a pseudo Christian or otherwise, get up on a stage and start lecturing in simplistic terms about what's wrong with the world, the country or anything, I have the same response. They deserve to be laughed at. It's a clown show. Nothing more. It may stir up a lot of people who also lack the humor to see the show, but in the long run it will accomplish nothing else.

Khrushchev came, spoke, hung around for a while and then went back to Russian. Our country survived it. We weren't invaded nor did we fall into the "evil" embrace of Communism. The irony of it all is very funny.

So now the doomsdayers are up again and blaming the government. There's nothing new about that. They've been doing that since the 18th Century.

One of the advantages of having been an actor all my life is that I can recognize bad theatre when I see it, and that's what I see. It may fool a lot of people. But it can't fool anyone who can still laugh.

DB - The Vagabond

(This is not a contest.)

In your opinion what is the most amazing thing that could happen during this decade? Make it as outrageous as you want but keep it within the realm of what you consider a possibility.

Only 7 responses so far.

Answers will be published the first day of Summer.

Thank you.

DB - The Vagabond


Joann said...

WOO HOO!!!! I WON, I WON the royal paper mache tea set!!! LOLOL!!!

I'll e-mail you my spring question answer.


Gerry said...

The only thing I was never able to laugh off were real bullets flying around and hitting my apartment complex walls. I spent too many nights lying down in my hallway with a phone in hand calling the cops to come quick before somebody got shot. That's war no matter where it takes place or who is firing the guns. I was never so glad to get away from a place in my life. I was just thinking the other day that in the 12 years I have lived here I can't recall hearing serious gun fire. In 13 years on the west side in that complex not a week ever went by without serious gunfire. I just did not realize people had to live this way. I would try to tell people in theater downtown what was happening on a regular basis on the west side, but it did not seem to make any difference to them. Living where people get shot all the time kind of changes your perspective. It becomes your experience and your kids' experience. It changes your political views. So now I am always curious about what people's background is. I read a lot of memoirs and am sometimes shocked at what the authors went through on a regular basis right here in this country in their rough neighborhoods. Utah Mormon neighborhoods are so peaceful in many communities, I have always thought because practicing Mormons must keep the word of wisdom not drinking or smoking. Drugs and alcohol poison a neighborhood. There was a terrible lot of drinking on the west side as well as drug trafficking. A country where a lot of people live in relatively peaceful neighborhoods makes for a great deal more stability. I wish it could be the case everywhere.

Beth said...

I love the "I can recognize bad theater" comment. Oh, so true, so true!

Liz said...

I thought the role of writing about bad theatre belonged to the critic not to the actor.
Have you changed roles?
If so I welcome a critic with the experience that a good actor can bring to every scene.

pacifica62 said...

Dare I say that there is a lot of grandstanding down there with, I mean people..who have a lot to say in their quest to instill fear and uncertainty into the minds of as many as they can. You are right, they deserve to be laughed at and they are by some but believed by others....too many others.