Sunday, January 8, 2012

Blog: Critical Condition, January 8, 2011

I am in Love with a dead man
I have a new secret husband
by Gaëtan L. Charlebois

I have often mentioned my secret husbands. Colin Firth is just one of many I have scattered around the world. I have these secret husbands for various reasons - not just gorgeousness (though that often figures) but for intellectual stimulation, wealth, pied à terres in the countries I travel to (Hugh Grant serves that purpose in London). (The others I will not reveal because...well...then they wouldn't be secret.)

But now I will reveal another one and, sadly, before we had time to get me into the will he passed away. Steve Jobs is my secret husband. I knew quite a lot about Steve before he left us, but I am learning so much more about him now that I am reading the Walter Isaacson biography. Yes, he was a bit of a prick (I knew that going in), and yes for a while he stank because he thought his diet didn't require him to wash or use deodorant. But I had not known how inspired the man was: he saw a thing, found a solution, and tried to configure that solution so that it would last.

He creates a computer that can't burn CDs during the CD burning craze, but finds another solution: iTunes. He visits a factory, is told there is a new miniature-yet-high-capacity hard drive being created there that still has not found a use and immediately realizes it is the perfect missing piece to his music-playing device: the iPod.

Yeah, he was flakey and cruel and obsessive but when he spotted genius ideas that pointed to the future he'd take them (steal them) and run.

We don't do enough of that in theatre. I look at seasons of plays across Canada. and see a constant look to the past. Everyone is doing the lastest Tony- or Pulitzer-winner instead of booking that new thing. Why isn't Ride the Cyclone, for instance, being received on tour by every house in the country? Not next season...this one! Why am I not seeing more than one or two new plays in the seasons of most houses? Why are there so few fusionist-theatre works (dance, standup, chamber opera, improv) in mainstream venues?

New doesn't always work (my Steve found that out with the mouse on his original iMac). But it does excite and it creates a future that is hard and real and not nearly as nebulous as theatre's seems right now. I think of someone like Steve running a theatre. So he's a prick; I would still marry him.

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