Sunday, March 3, 2013

Seeing the Strings

It's no secret I dislike Dickens because Dickens hates a loose end, so everything ties up nice and neat.

And that's the worst, when you can see the strings that connect the characters to the author. Michael Crichton was guilty of it, too (it seemed like his novels were thrilling for 280 pages, and then he remembered that he promised his editor he'd wrap it up in 300 pages, so the novel just stopped).

Saturday night I saw a one act play (For the Record by Bernie Appugliese at the Oakland Center for the Arts) that was all loose ends. And it was fantastic.

Ostensibly about baseball and the Mitchell Report (and the layers of conflicting emotions fans must feel toward their erstwhile heroes), the play is just as much about fathers and sons. It's a different kind of hero, and a different kind of deflation. But it's just as messy, just as impossible to come up with answers both true and satisfying.

The play began with the certain, sanctimonious tones of a certain segment of sports fan and sports writer. And it grew from there.

When I was in college I tried to write about a ball game I attended, about the rain delay, and about my parents' disintegrated marriage. The advice I was given then is that every young man wants to write about his father and about baseball, and that most turn into poor Field of Dreams parodies- unless you're. Sure you're bringing something new to the table it's better to find a less worn metaphor.

What I saw Saturday was something new. If you have the chance, don't miss it.

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