I apologize for being away for such a stretch of time. I had to spay my neighbor’s tortoise, which came as a bit of a surprise to both the tortoise and the neighbor (and the veterinarian seemed a bit concerned as well). I subsequently felt the need to go into hiding. But since my neighbor has moved (under what anyone would call decidedly mysterious circumstances and leave it at that), all is right with the world!
Mr. Isherwood, however, has not been in hiding! Rejoice! He has recently reviewed the play Milk Like Sugar by Ms. Kirsten Greenidge. You can find the review here. In particular he wrote:
“The girls’ instant enthusiasm for their triple pregnancy scheme didn’t quite ring true to me. The play was presumably inspired by a scandal in the Boston area in 2008, in which a spate of teenage pregnancies at a single high school was blamed on a pact among girls; the allegation was later debunked. Teenage pregnancy is a significant problem, but a vast majority of such pregnancies — among black or white women — aren’t the result of careful planning, but its opposite, pure carelessness. The play rests on a premise that renders its characters absurdly blinkered or schematically manipulated into seeming so.”
I could not agree more with the sentiment behind this paragraph! And I told him so. In the comments section. Here’s what I wrote:
Absolutely correct! It is patently WRONG of a playwright to write characters who engage in behavior that cannot be fact-checked! Human behavior is always predictable, like clockwork, and our drama should reflect this. Why do we need to be subjected to characters who, against all odds and against the clear laws of reality, tend to do and desire things that are not in their own best interest? If they, or the playwrights who author them, have a problem determining what their own best interest is, I would be happy to educate them. I’m sure, Mr. Isherwood, that you would too. Here’s a tip to would be artists that I think we can all agree on: if a play does not at least conform to clear journalistic standards, let it be anathema!
A play about teenage pregnancy should aspire to nothing more than being a PSA. No art is required apart from clearly presenting the facts on the clear dangers of sexual intercourse. In addition to being completely and happily sterile, my wife and I have not “enjoyed” each other (or anything or anyone else, really) for several decades. It has saved our marriage.
But you, Mr. Isherwood, are saving the theater, which is a far more rewarding venture. Ride on ride on in majesty!
I hope you agree!