Saw two v. different pieces of art this weekend, but they've both got me thinking about similar stuff. First was Sunday afternoon, when I went to NYC and got student-rush tix for The Light in the Piazza, which is closing soon, so I figured it was now or never.
So beautiful. I mean, I realize, duh, everyone loves this show, so I wasn't exactly surprised to find it beautiful, but I really, really enjoyed it, more than I've liked most things I've seen recently. Victoria Clark was great, and the music was lovely, but I think the thing that I liked the most was how disturbing it was. The story [warning: musical spoiler ahead] concerns a mother and her daughter visiting Italy. The daughter is mentally handicapped and the show's central dilemma is how much of a "normal" life she should lead. And it's fraught: what's best for the daughter, the mother, the daughter's boyfriend who doesn't know about her situation, responsibility vs. taking chances -- it was all dealt with. And, here's the big, big thing . . . the production doesn't demand that you agree with it. It presents certain characters in a particular situation, the choices they make, and allows you to say "Wow, I think that's a terrible decision," or "Gosh, I'm afraid and don't know what's going to happen" but you're disagreeing with the characters not the play. To make an admittedly facetious comparison, if you object to Forrest Gump, you also object to Forrest Gump. Not so with this show.
Then, on Monday, Beloved Husband and I went to see X-Men 3. Which was actually quite similar in terms of moral quandries to TLITP. The X-Men are, by virtue of being mutants, different, physically and mentally, from "normal" people, and the central dilemma of the movie is how much mutants should be pushed toward (or even offered an option of) normality. However . . . it's not a good movie. It could have been a good movie. It should have a good movie. It has good actors, interesting ideas, and an enormous budget, but instead of bringing them together for some good, old-fashioned storytelling, it pulled confusingly at our heartstrings (evoking ACT-UP meetings, abortion clinics, and DNA modification) and then just blew crap up for 15 minutes. Also, I think it bears mentioning that in the big "do you change your powers or use them" debate the two main female characters decided to give up their extraordinary abilities (either by getting the vaccine or asking Wolverine to killing them), whereas the man who faced it ended up staying the way he was. And flying his big gay wings over San Francisco. Which is great and all, don't get me wrong, but why did he get to be loved for the way he was and not the chicks? Just asking.
Also, in a final (please, please, I hope) eye update: I woke up yesterday with a case of pink eye in my right eye (yes, the one that has been plagued since mid-May). Went to the doctor, got some antibiotic drops, and it's looking way better, but still. Truce? Please?