What’s So Attractive About the Rise and Fall?

Watching the ebb and flow of real women’s lives have made for some of theatre’s  most surprising success stories. So what is it about their tales that gives us that extra dose of catharsis we crave?

Evita. Follows a young, ambitious, and fame-hungry Argentinean, Eva Peron, on her quest to ascend the ranks of the country’s social and political circles. Seen as a savior by most and a terror by some. Dies at 33. Crazy successful musical.

Anna Nicole: The Opera. Takes a lens to the life of Anna Nicole Smith, the waitress who became a Playboy pin-up and billionaire’s wife, before dying penniless at 39. Features extreme language, drug abuse and sexual content in the style of author Richard Thomas’ explosive and exhibitionist approach to opera.

Amy Winehouse Musical. A musical play based on the singer’s life that  will be performed by the Danish Royal Theatre in 2013. Said to focus on “the enormous pressure a sensationalist public put on a young superstar when her problems began.”Found dead at 27 in her home. Does it have what it takes to make it on stage? Is it still too fresh in people’s minds?

Yes, their lives are inherently theatrical. Eva Peron was an actress-turned-politician.  Anna’s life was a soap opera come to life. Amy’s last few years read like a tragic fairy tale. But what else draws authors to write about them and audiences to come and witness a retelling?

Perhaps, as evidenced by the public’s unending attraction to trash TV (from the early days of Jerry Springer…to more recent staples such as Toddlers in Tiaras), people like to be able to feel better about their lives in comparison to the train wrecks of others.

There is also the “gone too soon” factor, as these ladies left in the peak of their popularity or soon thereafter. This leaves us to wonder “what if” and explore the causes that led to such short lives.

Of course, some individuals’ lives are just inherently interesting. Through strokes of luck or hard work, the bullet points from their lives read like a script rather than an obit. And so onto the stage they go, to get the chance to live again.

Image Sources: 1, 2, 3

Red is Not Just Red – It’s Not That Simple

ROTHKO: What does ‘red’ mean to me? You mean scarlet? You mean crimson? You mean plum-mulberry-magenta-burgundy-salmon-carmine-carnelian-coral? Anything but ‘red’! What is ‘RED’?

KEN: Sunrise is red and red is sunrise… Red is a heart beat. Red is passion. Red wine. Red roses. Red lipstick. Beets. Tulips. Peppers.
ROTHKO: Arterial blood.
KEN: That too.
ROTHKO: Rust on the bike on the lawn.
KEN: And apples…And tomatoes.
ROTHKO: Dresden firestorm at night. The sun in Rousseau, the flag in Delacroix, the robe in El Greco.
KEN: A rabbit’s nose. An albino’s eye. A parakeet.
ROTHKO: Florentine marble. Atomic flash. Nick yourself shaving, blood in the Barbasol.
KEN: The Ruby Slippers. Technicolor. That phone to the Kremlin on the President’s desk.
ROTHKO: Russian flag, Nazi flag, Chinese flag.
KEN: Persimmons. Pomegranates. Red Light District. Red tape. Rouge.
ROTHKO: Lava. Lobsters. Scorpions.
KEN: Stop sign. Sports car. A blush.
ROTHKO: Viscera. Flame. Dead Fauvists.
KEN: Traffic lights. Titian hair.
ROTHKO: Slash your wrists. Blood in the sink.
KEN: Santa Claus.
ROTHKO: Satan.

ROTHKO: So…red.

Inspired by one reader’s astute observation regarding yesterday’s post, I thought it would be worthwhile to share one of my favorite moments from the recent Tony Winner for Best Play, Red. This passage comments on the specificity required of an artist. How a single color can mean a hundred things to one person and just one to another. But through finite definition we give a piece exactly what it requires. To paint only in broad strokes, whether it be in terms of vocabulary of whatever your artistic medium may be, results in messy work.

Melbourne: Paint by Colors

Melbourne easily earns the title of one of the hippest little cities I’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting. Artsy, intellectual, sprawling, and fast-paced, this place is truly world-class. A pal of mine moved to Australia earlier this year, and she has since made Melbourne her home.

We ran all around trying to jam pack the “true Australian experience” into a few days and she was an absolutely phenomenal host. We fed wallabies, caught some awesome films at the St. Kilda Film Festival, watched the tiny blue penguins (600 of them!) come in at dusk on Phillip Island, took in some contemporary galleries, noshed on scones while discussing countries’ “Gross National Coolness” at the Next Wave Festival, and got entirely too little sleep. But oh, it was worth it.

And because photos sometimes tell the story better than words can, I give you the full spectrum of Melbourne – in technicolor!