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If only you had a brain

Queens focuses on the personal and the visceral

Good actors, scrappy characters, and yet...
Good actors, scrappy characters, and yet...

I saw Queens on the eve of Independence Day, so I was particularly struck by the fact that not a single positive thing was said about the United States in the entire show.

How can you write a play about people who sacrifice everything else to get to a place while simultaneously saying nothing positive about that place? The answer is: present a set of characters who are here strictly for the economic opportunities, women who don’t particularly like America or Americans. Have them look back fondly to their country of origin without mentioning its drug cartels or Sharia law. Don’t mention religious or political persecution, because that might make America look good in comparison.

Don’t mention anything about America’s founding principles, American history, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of association, or the fact that women in America have equal rights.

Write characters who don’t see anything good about America other than the opportunity to make money. And then don’t explain why there are more opportunities to make money in America.

Then make those characters tough and scrappy, so that the audience can admire and root for them. It helps if you have (as this production does) superb acting and a striking set.

Queens is an accurate reflection of our current political malaise. It focuses on the personal and the visceral. It drums up sympathy while never transcending emotional reactions. It’s as if we were all on the yellow brick road, not skipping hand-in-hand, helping one another to a place of healing, but doing a push-me-pull-me, shouting at one another, “If only you had a heart!” and “If only you had a brain!”

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The Yoda Code

“Anger, fear, aggression. The dark side are they.”
Good actors, scrappy characters, and yet...
Good actors, scrappy characters, and yet...

I saw Queens on the eve of Independence Day, so I was particularly struck by the fact that not a single positive thing was said about the United States in the entire show.

How can you write a play about people who sacrifice everything else to get to a place while simultaneously saying nothing positive about that place? The answer is: present a set of characters who are here strictly for the economic opportunities, women who don’t particularly like America or Americans. Have them look back fondly to their country of origin without mentioning its drug cartels or Sharia law. Don’t mention religious or political persecution, because that might make America look good in comparison.

Don’t mention anything about America’s founding principles, American history, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of association, or the fact that women in America have equal rights.

Write characters who don’t see anything good about America other than the opportunity to make money. And then don’t explain why there are more opportunities to make money in America.

Then make those characters tough and scrappy, so that the audience can admire and root for them. It helps if you have (as this production does) superb acting and a striking set.

Queens is an accurate reflection of our current political malaise. It focuses on the personal and the visceral. It drums up sympathy while never transcending emotional reactions. It’s as if we were all on the yellow brick road, not skipping hand-in-hand, helping one another to a place of healing, but doing a push-me-pull-me, shouting at one another, “If only you had a heart!” and “If only you had a brain!”

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Comments
2

Antireview is right - where is this playing and when does it close? Who is in the cast? Who directed? Who is the playwright? Etc.

July 11, 2018

La Jolla Playhouse. Written by Martyna Majok and directed by Carey Perloff. Playing until 7/29.

July 17, 2018

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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