Monday, July 20, 2009

The Tragedy Artist


“COME SEE THE TRAGIC MAN!” said the signs, and so we did, buying popcorn and drinks in the lobby, and renting opera glasses – or not – as seating allocations dictated. Something will befall him soon, we think, in the hushed darkness. Surely something will befall him soon.

On stage, the man smiles nervously and shifts in his seat.

Time passes. Again the man smiles and shifts nervously.

On the third time, he adds an apologetic little shrug, a wipe of his brow... but a crowd only has so much patience. Drinks, popcorn, opera glasses, anything to hand, all begin to rain down upon the stage, “Boo!”s emanate from the assembled, “Rubbish!” they shout–

“Stop!” the man pleads, from somewhere beneath his arms. “Stop! Is this not tragedy? Is this not what you came for?”

And for a moment the barrage ceases...

Is he right?

“But now we feel the joke is on us,” comes the rejoinder and it begins again – we are tearing seats from the aisles, we are destroying the place, we are destroying him, and only when the man is dead and the theatre almost as ill-built as it was as a child do we stop and wonder if we have gone too far.

“We had only meant to watch... we had only meant to watch...” we say. “And now this... and now this...”

And in the burning box office all hope of a refund goes up in flames.

"Curse you!" we shout. "Curse you, David Blaine!"

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