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The student newspaper of, by, and for Ames High School.

The WEB

The student newspaper of, by, and for Ames High School.

The WEB

The way I should have seen it

I did not attend the Senior One-Acts this year (nor have I in the past). This is not due to bitterness over my rejection, however; it is not due to apathy nor is it to contempt. The reason I did not attend Senior One-Acts is that I, frankly, am convinced it would have been a waste of my time and, very likely, an affront to my theatrical sensibilities. If “beauty is truth, truth beauty”, as Keats wrote, perhaps he (or I) should sue for slander. It was, I imagine, a debacle. After all, to what heights can high school students even aspire? If they could act, films such as Dirty Dancing would have starred a seventeen year-old Patrick Swayze and not a thirty-five year old one, I am sure. Fostering the theatrical aspirations of a group of ever-so-precocious pseudo-thespians is both pointless excess and an embarrassing reminder of the overwhelmingly façade-obsessed neo-aesthetic proto-elitism that permeates our fair campus. Similarly, the so-called try-outs were farcical and offensive; having prospective victims pantomime lightning strikes or struggle over poorly-transcribed Cockney? All useful skills – in the bas***d child of bawdry and slapstick known as “improvisational comedy”. Perhaps it is for this reason that only the crudest and most insipid plot devices were employed. And while I cannot say, with complete surety, that there is nothing original or clever in any of these plays, simple extrapolation from what I have seen leads me invariably to this conclusion. Try something possessed of a modicum of wit next time, gentles, and perhaps my pen will be less vitriolic. I did not attend this year’s much vaunted “Film Festival”, either. Once again, I have little experience (even less, here) with the films or their contents. However, this will not stay my judgment, nor should it; no doubt rife with derivative farces and fragmented faux modernism, bound together with inept camera work and woeful cinematography, I can think of nothing better to describe this festival than “scoff-worthy”. Nor do I know much of contemporary filmmaking, from a stylistic standpoint, but at this juncture I am not sure I wish to; critically acclaimed works, most notably No Country for Old Men, which, when compared with other, wholly superior films (e.g. There Will Be Blood) are lionized, despite the fact that they are clearly, relative to other works by the same directors, juvenilia. And while a handful of Ames High students may be more influenced by Paul Thomas Anderson than Joel and Ethan Coen, I wouldn’t put money on it. As if that weren’t enough, little augurs well for the musical, The Protagonist. No matter where I wander in the halls of our school, its ever-present posters make me feel cast as Ulysses, or rather Orestes; they are not Sirens but Furies. “Don’t you wish your life was (sic) a musical?”, they taunt me; the misuse of the subjunctive, so often a casual and insignificant thing, betraying what I assume will run throughout the jejune opus as a depressing lowest-common-denominator structure fated to provoke at worst ennui and at best catatonia. Presumably. Musicals themselves are, on the whole, rather sad creations – any medium that can be described as simply as “a less-intelligent opera” should perhaps be either re-thought or left to die. Let me, accordingly, channel the spirit of Wagner to assign to The Protagonist, tentatively, a leitmotif: ”Chocolate Rain”. While it may seem rather reprehensible to write of material without seeing it, I ask you: what does seeing it really accomplish? There are those who read Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and come out of it convinced of the merits of drugs and not their destructive consequences, those who read Lolita and are ‘scandalized’ by pederasty and not awed by beauty, people who dismiss so very much genius as either childish or pretentious or vulgar. What, then, is the purpose of content but in providing richer fodder for criticism? Now, to ‘scape the serpent’s tongue, “Give me your hands, if we be friends, and Robin shall restore amends.” (Ed. Note: Okay, Bruner, I’m sorry we didn’t cast you. You can always be a Super Senior and try again next year!)

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