Monday, January 11, 2010

Everything Matters!, by Ron Currie, Jr.

The central theme of Everything Matters! is not a new one. It's a concept that has concerned philosophers, theologians, normal people for... well, ever. It's the reason the idea of an afterlife is so appealing, and why a day of judgment in some form is part of so many religions.

The idea: Does what we do on this earth actually matter?

But Currie takes this idea a step further: Would what we do matter at all if we knew the world were going to end, not just someday, but at a given point in our lifetimes?

I may have some grand ideas from time to time on this blog, but even I know better than to tackle that topic head-on. Of course I think what we do matters -- and even if there is some afterlife or a being that will judge us for our actions in this life, that's not why it matters. It's why I'm largely a Vonnegutian humanist -- we have no way of knowing what lies beyond this life, and without religion in the picture it's quite reasonably nothing. But we do have this time, and with that we ought to do what we can to make it the best it can be for as many people as possible.

Without asking Mr. Currie directly, clearly I can't know his personal stance on the matter. But from my reading of this book, and hell, from the title of the book, I have to think he probably agrees with me to a point. What matters in this life isn't -- and shouldn't -- be based on some larger purpose, some hope of eternal reward, even the idea that what we do will affect the rest of the universe. It may be that in the grand scheme, what we do is utterly meaningless. But despite our reaching for the stars, whether or not we are part of some grand scheme, we are without doubt part of some small scheme. And what we do within the sphere of our existence certainly matters.
Also, I am convinced that Currie must be a Kansas City Royals fan. Or, he was just very good at giving the Royals their due for the one decade they deserved it. Either way: Woo!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Twelfth Night, by William Shakespeare

This play is just fun. To those of you who complained about having to read Shakespeare in high school (of which I was one): You probably only had issues with the plays because you only had to read them once. Like all the Bard's works, this one gets better with each subsequent reading.

I should know. I've now had to read it something like 187 times.

Because I'm acting in it.

That's right. Under my nom de théâtre, I will be making my actorial debut as Duke Orsino in Twelfth Night, directed by the fabulous Jonatha Kottler, running at the Adobe Theater in Albuquerque, New Mexico, from January 15 through February 7.

This production has eaten my life.

And it is one of the most fun things I have ever done.

So if you're in the vicinity of Albuquerque in the next month, please, come support this incarnation of local theater with an absolutely delightful cast -- I'm not just saying that because I'm part of it -- and say hi after the show. I'll probably write something here about the experience, being so literary and all, during or after the run, when I feel I can properly process and evaluate it.
Update: We have a poster and everything! Look!