Apr 11, 2014


I came across this lede in an old review of mine while working on my recent feature on Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally, and it struck as worth highlighting. The review is of the Mike Leigh play Ecstasy, and though it may not sound like it, I intended this as a compliment to Leigh:
Like documentary filmmaking, theatrical naturalism implicitly lays claim to direct, unmediated truth: This is how things really are, how people really behave, how time really passes. That's rot, of course. From the time we're children, it is storytelling and play-acting, and the distorting stylizations that accrue to them naturally, which come to us easily, almost unconsciously, and which thus express much about who we are and imagine ourselves to be. Authentic observation and reportage, on the other hand, take herculean effort and soul-searching--and inevitably involve more conscious interpretation, circumspection, and, yes, stylization.
Given more time and space to develop this line of thinking, I'm not quite sure I'd come up with. But I'm glad I put this down as a kind of marker for further exploration.

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