January 2023

Silver and Gold

Arthur Danin Adler | Scene4 Magazine | www.scene4.com

Arthur Danin Adler

Feliz año nuevo, Feliz Ano Novo, Godt nytår, Buon Anno, Bonne année,
א גוט געבענטשט יאר, Ευτυχισμένο το νέο έτος, Chúc mừng năm mới, 新年快樂, あけましておめでとう, नववर्षकीशुभकामनाएं, สวัสดีปีใหม่, Blwyddyn Newydd Dda, Jabulela unyaka omusha, Feliĉan Novjaron, and last but not least…
Happy New Year!

There, that ought to do it.
Now wave goodbye to anguished 2022 and smile hopefully at 2023, asking…
What's New?
What's the story? What's the view? What's the perspective? What's the truth? (Strike that, this is not an epistemological lesson). The rise of a new Imperial China, the psychosomatic collapse of European and American capitalism, the once colonial now corporate slave-trade in Africa, the re-emergence of "God the Angry Father", the COVID plague. A disturbing and despairing panorama of the decline of humanity? Hardly.

George Santayana and others aphoristically proclaimed that to ignore history is to be doomed to repeat it. True? Perhaps, with a caveat that the human species is a collective of behavior, habitual, ritual, repetitive behavior—not doomed to repeat its history, rather self-programmed to recycle itself… and its history.

Nothing new under the sun? Nothing! What has changed is the level of transparency, the spreading discovery of what's already there, what has always been there. Eight billion humans are experiencing (at least on this planet) the result of exponential evolution—a "black hole" of technology that sucks in all impressions and expressions and spews out a nearly unfathomable ether of information and disinformation. It overwhelms the dyke of the 24-hour day and floods into an archival sea at the abbey of Saint Leibowitz known as… Google.

The media is deep in this mix, and the mix is in the media. Ink print journalism has given way to digital print journalism and the inundation has caused them both to suffer. The blog "rains" supreme - unrestrained, unedited, everyman's misinformed opinion. The majestic New York Times regularly publishes quickly-edited ramshackle articles and columns written with elbows instead of fingers. The Washington Post is deteriorating into a product-placement digest where intelligent copy-editing is reserved for the obituary section. The London Times—never mind, that's a Murdoch paper! Even my friend, Harper's Magazine, increasingly allows awkward, quick-cliché writing in its essays where once it wouldn't. And Google? Google is the Egyptian Pharoah and the Exodus' Moses rolled into one money-printing, identity-shifting video game.

The degradation to 'fast-food' journalism is evident all over the globe. A disturbing and despairing panorama of the decline of humanity? Hardly. Evolution, my friend, like time, marches on. George Orwell remains the sane voice on the horizon. 2084 is only sixty-one short years away.

At the first moment of the first dawn of 2023, we must (get it? just have to!) tell James Webb: Show Me God.

No. The tiny eye in the sky, 1.5 million kilometers away, cannot be trapped in perpetual yearning and mystery. It has more important things to do such as capturing abstract pictures of galaxies and nebulae and coloring them for Hallmark.

No, it's up to us, we sentient human animals, to create and show that iamge ourselves.

What a spectacular thought, eh? Though there are some performers who tread the boards fully usurping themselves and the title at the same time, I'm talking about the "one and only", the "almighty",  HIM (and he is a "him" in religious literature much to the consternation of much of our species). I'm not talking about the purveyors, the messengers... Jesus and Muhammad and the other self-proclaimed conduits to the everlasting light. And I'm not talking about Buddha who's been portrayed theatrically for centuries, because he was a "man" who achieved "god" and invited everyone else to become achievers as well. No, I'm talking about the "father", the all-seeing eye, the beginning and the end of all human dreams, Numero Uno!

How do we portray 'him' on stage? Well, in some Western religious alleys, it's simply forbidden. A voice, yes. A light, a shadow, maybe. But no images, thank you, they attract lightning! "Cabin In The Sky" notwithstanding, we've all seen the Cecil B. DeMille treatments in too many Hollywood potboilers and even some "passion" plays (giddy term) – a change of sky, a change of light, and the voice, that voice! A resonance, a timbre, an enunciation that removes all doubt, that restores all hope, and pumps our reservoir of guilt. Some Hollywood guys have made a lucrative career providing that cosmic tone in films, television, even commercials.

No, I don't want just a voice... I want "him" on stage, not on the screen, on stage in real time.

What could an actor do? How do you build that character, find the inner truth when there is no inner or outer. As Sir Larry and Orson and Gary Oldman would ask: What does his nose look like? A Noah's-Ark-of-a-task. Michelangelo did it, albeit, upside down, while being harassed by his padrone. So that's where I'd start... Buonarroti knew! He was touched by "him", whoever "he" was. That magnificent body and that magnificent face and that magnificent nose. There's the physical! And the flame of
character? It's in that finger, that wonderful laissez faire finger flowering from the most peaceful hand ever portrayed. Follow it back into the inner "life" and you'll find a bottomless source of memory, emotion, and eager experience.

But where am I going to find the actor to bring Michelangelo's vision to
life? Not on this planet, and not off either (until they discount the first-class fare to the space station and beyond).

No, no sense in auditioning for this role. Time to turn to The Animating Life Giver. Time to create a "new" actor, a shape-shifting anthropamorphoid with no baggage, who doesn't have to pee no matter how long a rehearsal lasts. With "it" I can begin to compose. Compose
what, you ask? Why reality of course: the who-what-where-and-when dramatic explosion that finally answers why.

And who is this Animating Life Giver? Who will create the Supreme Being, the Supreme Avatar? Why James Cameron of course. And who is James Cameron, you ask? Why, sleightly dense you, he is the Big Bang of course!

Reductio ad singularis. Which means— "simple as pie."


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Arthur Danin Adler is a playwright, writer and the founding Editor of Scene4. For more of his commentary and articles, check the Archives.


©2023 Arthur Danín Adler
©2023 Publication Scene4 Magazine




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