I'll just start off by saying that this is not actually a post about David Foster Wallace's essay collection A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again. I haven't read it and don't have a lot of interest in it, though perhaps I'll read the title essay about going on a cruise. I think the only cruise I would do would be the one that starts from Vancouver and goes up to Alaska. I probably will never do that (especially as my wife has no interest at all in cruises) but that would be the one cruise I would potentially take.
This post is more about how I have started to trust my instincts more and be swayed less by other opinions. That doesn't mean that I don't read book or theatre reviews, but I try to read between the lines. Given the information presented to me, would I like to spend my time (and money!) this way? I've actually started filtering a lot of stuff out. I generally am not interested in melodramatic plays or even tragedies, though I make occasional exceptions. I am not interested in plays about the plight of the inner city or ones that feature drug addicts and/or dealers. I think I am reasonably open to experimental theatre, but not theatre that requires a lot of audience participation or anything that completely eschews plot or meaningful characters. (There was a recent review where the reviewer hated some experimental piece of work (and I'm quite sure I would have as well), and then the reviewer was chided for not being open to post-theatrical work! I am not interested in post-theatrical work, and I've already said many times I despise ADs and directors that rely on spectacle and give up on plot.) I assume that sometimes I do miss out on something that would actually interest me, but most times when I go against my better judgement, I regret it.
I had very seriously considered going to the Honest Ed's farewell party on Friday, but I ended up working later than I expected and then went to Robarts to drop off some books. So I just went home. I'm still sort of debating whether I should stop by Honest Ed's tomorrow (Sunday). I probably could before the performance starts (Streetcar Named Desire), but I'm leaning towards just checking out the marketplace and swap meet, which should be free and skipping the art maze. I've seen some photos of the art maze, and most of the art is only of average quality (about what you'd see in a pop-up art gallery in a storefront on Queen St. W) but then no one asks you to pay $16 to go into a pop-up art installation. Also, my knee is bothering me and I'm having more trouble than I should in climbing stairs, so that's two strikes against it. I guess I'll just see how I feel tomorrow. All I know is that I don't want to guilt myself into going and then feel stupid for wasting my money on something I suspect I won't actually like. (The first photo below (sourced from BlogTo) is fairly whimsical but the second is dull, and my suspicion is that more of the art will fall into the second category...)
There are definitely more than a few books that I should have stopped partway through, but that's a topic for another day.
I'm still bemused by Tarragon asking some of its loyal subscribers to subscribe to the upcoming season completely blind, with no information other than there would be a lot of musical theatre (something I generally avoid). I'm certainly glad I held off, since when they announced the season there really wasn't anything I wanted to see. I realize that sounds harsh, but they're bringing back Mustard (which seems to be a pale echo of Mr. Marmalade), a musical version of Hamlet, some play about a tree-hugging activist and then Undercover, which puts a random audience member on stage to try to solve a murder mystery. This last one in particular is far too post-theatrical to my taste.* I will say that Hannah Moscovitch’s Bunny (in a transfer from Stratford) got amazing reviews, but when I dug a bit deeper, it basically is about a woman who can't and doesn't want to commit to a single relationship but then sort of wonders why her emotional life is a mess as she juggles four men. One could certainly argue that men get to play the dashing heel and are not punished, but I don't like plays (or movies) about playboys either. I just know I would end up completely annoyed after seeing this play, no matter the critical consensus that it is an amazing piece of work. So I suspect I will not be going to a single Tarragon play in their 2017-18 season. Too bad.
* I started cracking on this with a co-worker, saying that this sounded suspiciously like dinner theatre with a murder mystery theme, but at least in that case, you end up getting a dinner...