David Dodd 2:33 a.m., May 19
In The Music Man, currently at Lambs Players, Professor Harold Hill says we don't hear clearly enough. Music's everywhere, if only we'd listen: to the clack of a train, the banter of traveling salesmen, or the "pick-a-little, talk-a-little" of gossips.
Julie Andrews wasn't kidding when she climbed an alp, spun around in the backwash of a hovering helicopter, and sang "the hills are alive with the sound of music."
In Our Town, currently at Cygnet Theatre, the Stage Manager says we don't see clearly enough. When the late Emily Gibbs returns to the living for a day, she's astonished at how little she saw of life, especially in "ordinary events." It goes by "so fast," she complains. And human beings are just "blind people."
Simon Stinson, the town's outsider, adds: "that's what it was to be alive...To spend and waste time as though you had a million years. To be always at the mercy of one self-centered passion...Ignorance and blindness!"
Late in Peer Gynt, upcoming at the La Jolla Playhouse, an inquisition scene accuses Gynt -- and the audience, by extension -- of not doing enough. Things from nature (leaves, thread-balls, dewdrops) show him thoughts he never thought (he should have given them "feet to run"), watchwords he should have heeded, songs he never sung, deeds never done.
That's a triangulation of Ambassadors for "More Life."
Music Man premiered in 1957. Our Town in 1938. Peer Gynt in 1867. How did they know us so well?