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Playing to the Balcony

Picture one of the great Shakespearean soliloquies coming from the actor on the grand stage.  The voice—it is like dark soft velvet as it rises and falls with the poetry that still finds a remarkable audience hundreds of years after it was written.  The old language is unfamiliar yet powerful as though we know it more by instinct than intellect.  The ideas are the classic good vs evil, the corruption of power, and the ruination brought about by secrets.

ActorThe actor is working hard—he wants the good review in the morning paper and besides he loves his craft and hallows the words he is speaking.  He is playing to the balcony.  He wills for the person farthest away from him to feel what he feels and hear what he says.  He knows that is a sure route to success.

As wonderful as great theater is, it is only theater after all.  In the real world the ideas are the same but it is harder to see the nobility in the process when the action is on the floor of the US Congress or the Senate or the White House briefing room.  It is hard not to believe that we have spent the last month seeing real life.  Or has everyone been playing to the balcony?

Yesterday, I got good and mad.  Not just the average angry–but the “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!” howl at the moon angry.

Grown-ups aren’t supposed to get this way.  I sat dutifully watching both the President and the Speaker of the House with steam coming out of my ears!  It looks like we’re going to do this OK Corral style—or maybe the better metaphor is MAD (Mutual Assured Destruction). 

Someone needs to lock these guys in a room and not let them all out till the problem is solved—but who could do that if both are using the Mutual Assured Destruction concept?  What if they stayed in the room and the problem never got solved?  Two huge surreal thoughts!

My reality is somewhat different—small.  I clean up the basement after one foot of flood water and wonder if my homeowners insurance will cover any of the loss.  I drive to work with a full tank that costs more than it did three weeks ago.  I continue to work, drop into bed exhausted and get up to do it all again.  I am contemplating the meaning of life.  It would be comforting to think that this daily “taking care of business” is noble.  I am not sure.  It is, however, very real.  It is real life that is lived 24/7/365.

All it does is beg the question about what is real, who is and who is not playing to the balcony and are they MAD?

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