One summer I had the amazing experience of working with Tennessee Williams, who years prior had written Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Most of you know this, but it bears repeating. In it Big Daddy says: "What's that smell in this room? Didn't you notice it, Brick? Didn't you notice a powerful and obnoxious odor of mendacity in this room? There ain't nothin' more powerful than the odor of mendacity. You can smell it. It smells like death." And Brick declares: "Mendacity is a system that we live in. Liquor is one way out an' death's the other." Depressing. But there's more to it. Tennessee also has Brick say: "Maggie, we're through with lies and liars in this house."
I was in a play once, The Boy Who Changed the World, by Patricia Malango, a play about a prehistoric teenager at a time when homo sapiens were at the precipice of extinction. The boy fails at hunting, fighting and killing, but excels at painting, poetry and music. He's the one who saves the world by inventing the wheel. Yes, a cheesy parable. I played the narrator. At the top of the show I said: "What an age to be alive in - everything violently new and a challenge! The world full of knowledge just waiting to be discovered!"
Tennessee Williams and Patricia Malango, two very different artists whose words resonate today. These are depressing, uncertain times, surely, but they offer us a chance at creating something new and better. With our artists leading the way.
It's easy to be sad, depressed all holed up in our COVID Cubbyholes. Let's take the lead, as artists always do. Let's be through with lies and liars. Let's embrace the possibilities this unique moment in history affords us.
- David Fuller, President, NTC