Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Platypus Replays

The Legend of Zelda: best fifty dollars my parents ever spent. After 15 years, it still holds all its charm. Here's to the glory days, Nintendo!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Sick Platypus

Battling a cold these past two days.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Weekend Platypus

The mad dash to get to the weekend has begun! For the next twenty-four hours, I'm keeping off the highway...

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Platypus Reads Part X

There's always something heart-breaking in seeing or hearing about a place you love but can't get back to. -of realizing that life goes on without you there. It's human nature to expect time to stand still, even when we know that it doesn't.

Something peculiar strikes me every time I finish reading the Oresteia. Three quarters of the way through the final act, Orestes has left the building and the play keeps going. All this time we've been concerned with Orestes, and we're suddenly reminded that he's not what the story was really about. Thus the play goes on without him. Aeschylus teaches us an important lesson in this: we are not the center of our own play.

Since each of us views life through the prism of self, it comes naturally that we suppose that we are the central characters of our life. After all, man is Homo Narratio as well as Homo Sapiens. We construct narratives wherever we go, even if they're as simple as "one plus one equals two." Thus man assumes that life is the story that he is telling to himself. Aeschylus reminds us that this is not the case. There are far greater actors than we in the story, and we are neither author nor director. As the play ends, Aeschylus brings us to see that not even the Furies, Athena, and Apollo are really in control of events. They too are players in the great drama of God. He alone is the author, director, main character, and audience.

One is tempted to add more, but that defense upon the hill of Ares comes more than five-hundred years after Aeschylus.

Acting Platypus

While we're on the topic of theater, does anyone remember where I left my magic mask?

Friday, October 12, 2007

Somewhere Deep Down Inside

He's Still There...

The Platypus Reads Part IX

This is what was on the other side of the hill. -just hop the stone wall in Pratt's back yard.

How much of life is an attempt to reconcile past and present? How much of ourselves has already been defined, and how much is open to us to change? These are questions I find myself asking. Most of the time it's about other people. - sometimes it's about me.

In Aeschylus' Oresteia, past and present meet and reconcile. Through the sufferings of the House of Atreus, we come to learn that our history and our future are inseparable, and therefore present with us every moment of our existence. Far from being things to be escaped or desired, rushed on to or gotten over with, they are a unity that we must accept with wisdom. Apollo, the eternal youth, attempts to use brute strength to destroy the past, in the form of the Furies, and force the future, in the form of Orestes, and fails. Athena, goddess of wisdom, accepts both and succeeds, bringing renewal and balance to the realms of gods and men. The play ended three years ago, but I'm still pondering what that means.

All-Seeing Zeus and Fate embrace, down they urge their union on. Cry! Cry in triumph through the streets! Carry the dancing on and on!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Platypus Pastimes

Some days just feel like this.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

The Platypus Reads Part VIII

Autumn and spring are the seasons for theater. They are times of transition, when we become more aware of the changes in our lives. On the stage, we see the seasons of life acted out, and walk away with a new sense of the wholeness and unity of existence.

For Aeschylus, theater's primary role is to mediate change. In Aeschylus' mind, change is a vital part of life. Hence his repeated use of the thematic "Time refines all things that age with time" in his Oresteia. In other words, all things are ever becoming more and more what they are. The refining process is often gradual; so gradual that we don't even realize that it's going on. Occasionally, however, the inward process breaks out in our lives in startling color. It is those moments that drama deals with. They can be occasions for joy or terror, laughter or sorrow. Each of these is caught up and presented to us with crystal clarity by drama.

We put on our performance of the Oresteia in the Fall. The air grew cooler, the leaves began to change, and the cafe started serving pumpkin pie again. It was a time of transition for many of us. I was transitioning back to life in the U.S. Our director was in the process of getting engaged. The Freshmen in our play were transitioning into college life and the Seniors in our play were getting ready to transition out of it. Due to some administrative bickering, our theater troop was even getting used to a new name. As the year was dying, then, we took up the steps of Aeschylus' great choric dance and joined our little changes to those of Creation itself.