Friday, May 19, 2006

Cormac McCarthy

Yesterday I went to see the opening of Sunset Limited, the new play by Cormac McCarthy. We went on the same night as the Cormac McCarthy Society, a bunch of elderly english majors who smoke (and eat) a lot. The wonderful Austin Pendleton played the part of a depressed professor who is rescued from a suicide attempt by a southern black Jesus loving stereotype of a man, basically a cheerful Sambo. The play is the conversation of the two men, anti-Jesus vs. pro-Jesus battling it out.

One time I hung out with some theater people, but on the grand scale of things I can't yet characterize them into some sort of cogent group. I haven't read a lot of good old Cormac either (I learned he was actually born "Charles"), but I can say that this is a man who is in love with his own penis. He wore a very unbuttoned dress shirt with a pale beige blazer. Anybody who writes about manly topics like cowboys, the desert, death, blood, violence, human suffering, and pathos is clearly in love with their own genitalia. It's kind of a fact.

Everytime I go to the Steppenwolf Theater I think I see the same play. Sometimes it's about a bunch of people sitting on the deck of beautiful home in southern California.
Sometimes there's a mentally disturbed brother and sometimes they are drinking wine. Sometimes something crazy happens, like a falcon eating a puppy, but everytime there are a bunch of people sitting around fretting and venting their dark feelings about the human condition. There's lots of talk about futility and meaninglessness. It always a lot like that Sarte play, No Exit.

Not to be a's always a treat to see something live, and sets are always fun to gawk at, and it's special to go out and sit in a room with other people. There was some snappy, fine writing and some funny moments, but there's something there that I just can't put my finger on about the kind of people that write or go to plays like this. We've all seen something like it before, we know it's not going to end well, and we know nothing new is going to be said on those subjects of human suffering and meaning. So why do they keep going?

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