Since it was written in 1999, Sarah Kane’s play 4.48 Psychosis has been considered one of the most controversial works of experimental theater. It’s almost impossible to believe that it’s being staged in a place such as Lake Charles.
But you can believe it. And if you get to the F.G. Bulber Auditorium Oct. 24-26, you can see the remarkable work performed.
In the play, a psychotic person (probably a woman) speaks at length about having experienced loss and disappointment she finds almost unbearable. She returns repeatedly to such topics as doubts about the integrity of her self, her sense of worthlessness, suicide, nihilism. Portions of the play simply sound like crazy talk.
The language is extremely simple; often stark. It is direct, aggressive and angry. There are repeated efforts to reproduce the speech tropes of the severely mentally ill.
A few quotations may give you a sense of the work:
It is myself I have never met, whose face is pasted on the underside of my mind.
Please. Don’t switch off my mind by trying to straighten me out.
I hope you never understand because I like you. I like you. I like you.
It’s heady stuff, and not for everybody. Kane said that after she wrote the play, she was so afraid of it that she preferred not to remember it.
She said the subject of the play was the “psychotic mind.” As for the numbers 4.48, she claimed that when she wrote the play, she suffered from insomnia caused by severe depression, and often woke at 4:48 am. Shortly after she finished the work, she died when she hanged herself during a hospitalization in King’s College Hospital in London.
A McNeese summary of the play rightly states that it is about “the struggle of the self to remain intact.”
This is the first “studio production” of the McNeese Theatre Bayou Players. The studio productions are a new series developed by McNeese’s Charles McNeely in order to produce “more challenging, thought-provoking work at McNeese.”
If McNeely wanted challenging and thought-provoking work, he got it right the first time. He has a lot of guts to stage this play in Lake Charles, and the Up Fronter gives him props.
The director of this MSU production is Gabriel Brown.
Need more info? Call the McNeese State Theatre Foundation at 475-5040.
Census: La. Ain’t Quite Boomin’ Yet
“Boom or not, Louisiana, has a median household income more than $6,000 below the U.S. median. It was the third-worst state in the country for income inequality [in the last year of data collection].”
That’s the word from the Louisiana Budget Product, which has just released a report on a set of brand new numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau.
But it’s not all bad. Says the new report, “More Louisianans than ever before are in the workforce and household incomes are finally rising after years of decline.”
But it’s not all good. “Even though the state’s workforce grew to record levels as construction and manufacturing continued to expand, Louisiana’s poverty rate remains where it was a year ago — 19.8 percent.
“That gives Louisiana the nation’s third highest poverty rate (behind Mississippi and New Mexico). However, at 27.7 percent, Louisiana’s child poverty rate is fourth highest.”
Fourth highest! Dudes and dudesses, we’re moving up!
The Louisiana Budget Project, which determines how public policy “affects low- to moderate-income families,” is a division of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, which “develop[s] policies to alleviate poverty” and determines whether “state and federal governments” have “sufficient revenue to address critical priorities, both for low-income populations and for the nation as a whole.”
These two groups seem to have some sort of special interest in poor people and not too much interest in rich people. You may think that’s basically OK or you may think that means the groups are socialist leftist liberal conspiracies to undermine all that is good and decent.
Whatever it is, the Louisiana Budget Project offered its take on this year’s La. legislative session: “While legislators largely avoided the destructive cuts that have become the norm in recent years, they failed to address the state’s structural budget problems or take advantage of opportunities to help low-income families.”
In the same issue in which the Project delivered this assessment, it praised Jim Beam for a column in the American Press in which he noted the Legislature’s failure to address “the causes of costly auto insurance, expensive health care coverage and [the problem of] having far too many people in prison.” Real talk!
And it offered up a few surprises about wealth inequality. Dig this: “Although wealthy states tend to have lower poverty rates … the distribution of incomes was especially imbalanced in … California, Connecticut and Massachusetts.”
Well, hose me Agnes! Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, another problem pops up!
Fortunately, It’s Not All Good News
Perhaps you got a little nervous when the Reason Foundation ranked Louisiana No. 24 in highway performance and cost effectiveness in 2011. Maybe you felt that was just too high a ranking for Louisiana to have on any positive list. Louisiana finished in the top half, for heaven’s sake.
Well, take a deep breathe and relax. On Sept. 18, the Reason Foundation announced that it had dropped Louisiana way down to No. 40. Of course, that’s a drop of 16 slots in three years.
OK. So we’re moving in the right direction again. But I think there’s still room for improvement; that is, the opposite of improvement — disimprovement, let’s say. I think we might be able to bump that rank down to 45 or even 46. But we may have to work at it.
Put Her Back Up In The Stupid Tree
Sometimes we see that people can make news just by doing stupid stuff. And they don’t have to be politicians either.
For instance, you may have heard that Miley Cyrus recently had herself whipped by a Mexican flag while she was performing on stage in Mexico.
Now, when I read about something like that, one thing I think is “How dumb can a person be?”
Other questions I ask myself are: “Is this the same Miley Cyrus whose parents use to swear up and down that she was a holy Christian saintly virgin who never had a questionable thought in her pretty little head? Is she the same Miley Cyrus whose daddy — musical failure Billy Ray — said she was ‘tricked’ into posing in the nude by Annie Leibowitz? Is this Billy Ray the same person who was dumb enough to think people would believe that when they knew he was at the photo shoot the whole time? Does dumb run in the family?”
Boy, that’s a lot of questions to be asking myself. But I ask them all the same.
‘Looks Like The Ref Has Called A Goatee Foul.’
LeBron James recently unveiled a new Nike shoe. One of the world’s most prominent sports figures collaborates with one of the world’s most prominent sporting goods manufacturers. This could be an interesting story. Do you think it might be interesting for the business and marketing aspects if nothing else?
If so … turns out you’re just plain … WRONG. The Washington Post reported that “more people” were interested in James’ “new hairline” than in his new shoes.
I hope the WP reporters are asking the tough questions: At what salon did James get the new hairstyle? Which stylist gave him the cut? Did more than one stylist collaborate on it? Did any or all stylists represent Vidal Sassoon, Paul Mitchell or other prominent makers of hair products? There are millions of basketball fans around the world who will be powerless to pick up a remote and watch an NBA game until these questions are answered.
You know it’s true. I mean, how many times have you found yourself watching a game and all the announcers could say was, “Man, I wonder where LeBron got that hair style”? It’s enough to put you off basketball.
On Sept. 22, this was the lead headline in the Flashback section of ZY’s Your Daily Dose:
“The 20th Anniversary Of The Crappiest Show Ever”
The show in question is Friends.
ZY is short for Ozymandius, an outstanding daily internet news publication that’s put together in Mountain View in the Silicon Valley. ZY will gladly email you its daily news stories on request.
There’s this magician driving down a street. All of a sudden, he turns into a driveway.