Monday, September 22, 2008

Finally, now

A new play by the American playwright Christopher Shinn called Now or Later is built around the conflict of self-expression and its consequences in a world where cartoons published in an unknown paper in Denmark lead to deaths all around the world.

Shinn’s play is set on the eve of a presidential election. The Democrats are on the point of victory when news breaks out, via political blogs, that the would-be new president’s homosexual son, John, has gone to a party dressed as the prophet Mohammed and his friend as the gay-baiting evangelist Pastor Bob.

As footage of the party circulates around the globe, sparking riots in the Muslim world, John is under immense pressure from presidential advisers to make a public apology. While John insists on the importance of free expression, and also that he was attending a private party, his friend Matt points out that he could be responsible for deaths around the world. Principle and pragmatism collide to fascinating effect. Staged in real-time, Now or Later carefully explores the anguish and arguments of this very contemporary concern.

Until now, the response of our brave engaged artists, fearless in their searing denunciations of America, Christians and other evil, though unreponsive, groups, has been to take the discretion out of valour, and then drop the valour. Shinn, a homosexual who benefitted from the rights battles of the Nineties, now sees discussion smothered by identity politics and the cult of the victim.
I think in many ways American campuses are a distorted and extreme way of dealing with problems in US culture. The left-wing ideology in these campuses doesn’t seem to be related to the way the world is. The antics on campus almost have a feeling of play acting, as it’s so divorced from people’s lives.

Amazingly, though he describes himself as a 'left-wing champion of free speech', he doesn't actually hate his homeland, which may explain why most of his plays are premiered here.


Riri said...

Heyyyy you're back!!

I like the new look too, feels fresher!

Will comment later as I have to help my Mum in the kitchen now.

Riri said...

Free speech, one each. The problem with unrestricted free speech is that some humans would think it is their right to exercise free speech by issuing death threats to others.

Colateral damage.

Religion only says thou shalt not kill, it is silent on issuing death fatwas.

NoolaBeulah said...

Exactly. And that is why our brave anti-establishment artists have decided to curtail, for the moment, their self-expression.

wodge said...

Life imitates art. Not a muslim in sight though.

NoolaBeulah said...

Lost me there, Wodge, I'm afraid.