Saturday, the smartest man I know, posted a blog post in which he wondered if any living, American dramatic artists possess the scope and seriousness to really take on 9-11. I don't have anything resembling an answer, but I can dredge up a pretty solid maybe. Angels in America. Cabaret. So many truly great pieces of art that cover war and tragedy with the humanity and depth and humor and seriousness that is required. Is the problem with theater and movies about 9-11 a problem with the event itself? Does it not effectively lend itself to theater or film? I don't know, I don't know anything. It happened in an instant. From NYC's point of view there were no villains on stage. No one to fight, nothing to do. The world stage seemed blank and empty. In movies the President comes on TV to reassure a frightened nation, played by some deep voiced second rate actor. In real life there was no President on TV. He was hiding in some bunker somewhere. Everything was like this, and then it was another way. And then things went back to normal. But not really. We were a city of Flitcrafts.
I didn't see the play the man known as Trav S.D. saw, but I saw the film and thought it seemed as if it had been written by a 12 year old (okay. I said chimps. But that's incredibly mean.). I also reviewed a Fringe show a couple of weeks ago, The Hurricane Katrina Comedy Festival, written by a New Orleans native, that did a simply beautiful job of showing what that experience was like for five residents of that great and blighted city. Maybe we need a something done documentary style, maybe someone like Spike Lee. Maybe something by someone like Art Spiegelman. Maybe the problem is the artists working in the subject are so resoundingly second rate. We need something better.