Robert Faires, arts editor of the Austin Chronicle, found himself haunted by a summer of theatre pieces featuring dying dads. One moral of the stories:
"Art has the power to address our lives in very personal ways. We tend to forget that because the culture we live in treats so much art as distraction and our reflex is to judge it on how well it succeeds in that regard – it's good, or it's bad; it rocks, or it sucks – and move on to the next thing. While I relish a good distraction as much as the next guy, I believe we're all better served when we attend a little more closely to what a work of art may be saying, where it may be describing some part of our lives."
All Over Creation: Die Another Dad
Puzzling out the meaning of the theatre's Summer of Dead Dads
by Robert Faires, Fri., Sept. 2, 2011
I'm not dead yet.
That declaration may strike you as a tad obvious, but after a summer spent immersed in plays featuring a father's death as a fulcrum for drama, I'm feeling a need to check my pulse. See, all season I've been more than usually sensitive to my role as a dad, what with my one and only daughter's graduation from high school in June and her imminent departure from the nest in August. Now, it didn't faze me when I directed Austin Shakespeare's spring production of Love's Labour's Lost, even though this comedy ends with one of the ingenues getting the news that her poor papa has passed. (Actually, the play's last-minute swerve into solemnity after four acts of froth and frolic is the thing I like best about it; it's a gambit that pays off with some emotional weight for its airy, too-clever-by-half young lovers.) But when I visited the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in July, I was a little thrown when four of the seven plays I saw turned on daddy dyin'. And that was compounded when I returned from that holiday and caught three similar productions in the space of a month.