TG and I bought season tickets at the Geffen Playhouse here in Los Angeles, and enjoyed a season that included productions of “Cat on A Hot Tin Roof” and “All My Sons”.
Last week we went to the final play of the season, Sam Shepard’s “The God of Hell”.The play involves a mildly clueless Midwestern family, a scientist escaped from a secret Colorado facility, Plutonium contamination, an undercover American agent with a thing for red-white-and-blue bunting, and torture.
Needless to say, I started the evening somewhat cynically.
But it was actually a really good play; put the politics aside for a moment (I’ll get back to them) damn well acted, well imagined by the director, and with Shepard’s solidly American magical realism – solidly 60’s American, but American nonetheless.
We stayed for a discussion of the play afterward, and I bit my tongue quite a bit as the audience and cast congratulated themselves for their courage in putting it on in this, the sixth year of the Bush Reign.
I almost asked one question – “Do you really think it takes courage to put on an anti-Bush anti-war play in West Los Angeles in this day and age?” – but I decided silence was a virtue that evening.
They polled the audience for reactions, and interestingly enough one woman stood and announced herself outraged by the play.
The play offended her, she said, as much as she detested Bush. Given the hard reality of the attacks on Israel that were going on as we sat in our comfortable theater seats, she felt angry watching the play. I waited for a hostile reaction from the crowd, and instead heard a murmur of approval.
This conflict is going to present a lot of people with interesting personal dilemmas before it is over.