Tag Archives: The New York Times

This isn’t (likely to be) happening

The late great Douglas Adams in his fabulously inventive ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” gave us “The Improbability Drive” as the motive power for nipping from interstellar points A or B to C, D, and beyond.

51X7zBMf9bL._AC_US218_

Now we have improbability politics. If you haven’t seen it already, I recommend Gail Collins’s op-ed today (August 23rd 2018) in The New York Times in which she responds to a prospective film treatment which clearly comes from an alternative universe.

When Bill Bryson first published his Yank’s-eye-view-of-Australia in 2000 titled “Down Under” – in subsequent editions changed to “In a Sunburnt Country” – he pointed out that during the late 1990s the mighty New York Times published numbers of articles on Australia commensurate with those on Peru and Albania and far fewer than that in its reporting of Cambodia and Korea.

Much has changed since then, although I can personally attest to this turn-of-the-millenium ranking of general US interest in matters Australian. When I arrived in New York in 1999 you’d have been hard pressed to find a bottle of Jacob’s Creek Shiraz. Today of course, Aussie plonk can be had in any supermarket in any state in the Union. It is still somewhat rare though, to find even a theatrical professional whose ear can reliably discern the difference between an Australian and a British accent. New York is different, the place has, since the turn of the millennium been flooded with Aussie professionals, and Aussie meat pies and flat white (coffee) can be found in parts of Brooklyn and Manhattan.

Unknown

But today the New York Times has devoted part of its editorial page to current Australian political moves. Moves that leave improbability somewhere beyond the calculation of Pi (π). In brief, the current Aussie administration has abandoned previous modest efforts to take action on climate change. Notwithstanding that there is a State-wide drought in New South Wales, nor that the Great Barrier Reef is dying, nor that more sunshine falls on Australia than almost anywhere in the world…

By the way, I recommend Bryson’s book on Oz, in either title, not least because it contains about the funniest ever description of the game of cricket by one foreign to the game.

 

Political Theatre

Deeply sad news this week of the too-early death of Jan Maxwell. I only worked with her once, back in 2002, when I took over from Nick Woodeson in House and Garden at the Manhattan Theatre Club.

55630-0

On stage Jan was an elegant, intelligent presence, handling language with poise and precision and impeccable comic timing. Backstage her vocabulary was, what’s the word I want? Vigorous, energetic, vivid, feisty … all of these and more. I specially enjoyed her acerbic wit. She was the most generous of scene partners and a joy to play with.

I say political because as a dedicated artist, Jan worked whenever she could for The Wrestling School, a theatre company which produces the plays of Howard Barker. It was good to see the New York Times acknowledge her work both in an obituary and a feature article.

My own politics are green-of-centre.

I am among those subversives who wants clean energy solutions. In memory of a truly sparkling talent I recommend http://www.Kiva.org — it’s a way to fund eco-friendly people and projects.