Far Out: All the World's a Stage
By: Jeannette de Beauvoir, March 27, 2012
If you listen to Arts Week, my arts and culture show on WOMR, you’ll be keyed in to the fact that theater is one of the things still uniting our community.
And then there’s drama, something else altogether, which isn’t doing anything to unite the community.
This coming weekend, Provincetown Theater is opening the Tony Award-winning musical A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, which is grand good fun.
The title references the phrase vaudeville comedians used to open their shows, and writers Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart (the latter of M*A*S*H fame) thought that would be a great way to play with farce—everything from mistaken identities to slamming doors and terrible puns.
“All the usual actors were busy filming The Offseason,” Provincetown Theater’s Patrick Lamerson told me, “so we went off-Cape and got a whole new group of people. And they’re really good!”
April also brings Babe, The Sheep Pig to the Harwich Junior Theater, complete with special school vacation matinees.
Adapted from the book, Babe is “a tale of high adventure in the farmyard; of humble beginnings and courageous triumphs. This is the story of one piglet’s rise to become the world famous 'sheep-pig,’” says the playwright, David Wood.
And then there’s Facebook—like all electronic media, always good for a little bit of miscommunication. Provincetown has its own community page, where everything from rental availability to pleas for help moving furniture are posted. Conversations ensue from these posts, especially as the town starts to teeter on the brink of The Season.
Most of the time, the community page is quite a nice place to hang out. Lately, however, the tone has changed. A few recent posts brought on a spate of name-calling—surely the lowest form of insults—and general vitriol. Personal attacks took the place of differences of opinion over substantive issues.
Disagreements that two months ago would have ended in an electronic chuckle escalated (or, rather, descended) into sheer nastiness, and left me, at least, disengaging from not only the conversations but also the community.
Where did all this sudden negative energy come from? Is it because more people are now in town or getting ready to be in town, so they’re participating more? Or is bitchiness becoming a prerequisite now that Provincetown has been crowned one of the best gay resorts in the country?
I don’t know what is happening here, but it’s surely troubling. Soon the tourists will arrive, the drag shows and restaurants and galleries will open and energy will be spent making a living. Or so I hope.
But this disharmony is leaving an uncomfortable feeling in its wake, a distasteful memory of how quickly things can go awry.
All the world may be a stage, but I’m all for keeping the drama in the theaters.