Saturday, November 12, 2016

November 12. Day 317. The Things that Unite US

In a song called Heartland released by The The with whom I had a love affair in the mid 80s, Matt Johnson referred to the Unites Kingdom as the 51st State of the USA. The same thing could be said about Australia then and now. The impact of popular culture and the reliance of our country on the US for foreign policy makes you wonder if we are just another State. But like so many things, the devil is in the detail. It's the little things that set us apart. Like bacon (the US bacon is really dry and disgusting), cheese (nothing you eat should be that yellow) and patriotism. OK, this is the capital steeped in history but the flags and monuments to presidents are everywhere. My guess is that you could not buy a bobble head Malcolm Turnbull doll anywhere. And then there are those outside the White House either protesting or celebrating the Trump election. I wonder about that. I wonder how we would react to the man literally dancing down the street wearing an apron with brochures. People politely allowed him to explain that Lucifer and Buddha were two words for the same thing. Not sure how long people would allow that. In fact I can't help but wonder what would happen if a figure such as Donald Trump was elected Australian PM (or president should we ever move to such a model). I consider it unlikely that walking the streets with placards around your neck would be part of the action plan. I also doubt I'll see the day that there is a theatre devoted entirely to Australian works. There is, of course, such an American thing and I was there today - twice. At the matinee at the Mead Center for American Theater I saw Carousel. As I am no fan of Rodgers and Hammerstein I really didn't expect much but it was a stunning performance. Still, there was a little thing that drove me nuts - imaginary props. Why mime a tea cup or a cigarette or a pastry. The staging was elaborate and beautiful. Did you run out of money for a couple of mugs? (yeah I know it's an artistic choice. It's just not one I approve of). And on little things, the personally addressed envelope on my seat with a letter and a chocolate celebrating my first Arena Stage performance was special. There was another one when I returned in the evening to see The Year of Magical Thinking starring Kathleen Turner. The stage adaptation of Joan Didon's book was one of the most powerful pieces of theatre I have seen ever (and I have seen rather a lot). One woman on stage for just under two hours with no intermission talking about the unimaginable year where she dealt with the death of her husband and only daughter. It was heartbreaking, tragically funny in places and very, very raw. I may have cried (yeah I did). Any finally on little things - the little toe on my left foot is so sore I can see no way a shoe is going back on. This is despite a whole packet of gel Bandaids to protect it. Annoyingly these are shoes I wear all the time ... and of course comfortable footwear is one of the repeated reminders in the study tour documentation. That little problem is for tomorrow.

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