Yesterday evening, I attended this summer season's opening
performance of the Los Angeles Independent Shakespeare
Festival's production of "She Stoops to Conquer" by Oliver
Goldsmith, a play originally published in 1773. This was the
first play of the troupe in Griffith Park for this year, their 10th
year in a row. And it is the first time they have done a play
that is NOT penned by William Shakespeare, they said.
Actually, I might add, neither was it penned by Oliver Goldsmith,
but rather extensive 'poetic license' was employed. While the
principle theme and content of Goldsmith's work is likely all here,
certain details could never have been part of the original, and
since these were incorporated wholesale as IF they were part
of the original, one is left wondering how many other changes
and accretions were subsumed as well. But that is what the
Revolution does - change as a matter of principle.
The Independent Shakespeare Festival-in-the-park is a FREE
event, even though priority positions for viewing are reserved
front rows for those who purchase tickets for same. Seating
is on the grass in the open air amidst towering eucalyptus and
pine trees. Wild animals like coyotes roam the hills in the
background, as Griffith Park is mostly mountainous wilderness.
(If they ever see fit to do extensive grading, they could well
form practically a new city inside of it, however the EIR would
likely be an impossible obstacle. The coyotes own the land,
and man would seem to be the vile intruder.)
Now, they asked us that if we liked the play, we should tell
our friends, and if we "didn't like it," that we should keep it to
ourselves. I'm mentioning this because there were things about
the play that were quite enjoyable, however, there were other
things that were morally dangerous, so I can hardly mention one
without the other (even if that's how DICI handles news from
the Vatican these days!).
The father of the family, and owner of the manor which is the
setting of the play, is fairly held up to ridicule for his preference
of "old things" like books and attire (superficialities that is) even
though he himself later conforms to adapting things more
'up-to-date' (but of a more enduring nature, such as what
makes a man truly good) by the end of the play, thus my choice
of title here, for what it is.
They explained that this play "has been in continuous
production" ever since it first came into public view. Now,
apparently, Los Angeles joins the longstanding 'tradition' albeit
240 years late.
They said this is the first time that this theater group has done
a play that is not Shakespeare. And while the play exhibits
some aspects of Shakespeare, it is obviously from a later
development, that is, some 200 years later. So it forms, as it
were, a kind of mid-point between Shakespeare and us today.
But the WAY this play was done forms a kind of mid-way
development, it seems to me, between the corruption of
Catholic ideals toward the modern world we live in, that is,
between the Social Reign of Christ the King and our Modernist
world of today.
The play is a comedy, and, if you can get past the salacious
details and innuendos, it is funny. But if you somehow fail to
ignore the not-so-obvious, it is scandalous. As His Eagerness
B. Fellay would say, it depends whether you choose to wear
pink- or rose-tinted glasses (remember, "pink" or "rose" are
words applied, improperly and properly, respectively, to
vestment colors of Gaudete and Laetare Sundays).
In a surreal juxtaposition of the 'new' with the 'old,' we are
given to enjoy certain trappings of our roots in Catholicism while
lapping up the foul stream of impurity endemic in this perverse
generation, to which a sign shall not be given but for Jonah the
For example, during scene changes, the loudspeakers are
employed to spew out Rock n' Roll such as The Beatles and
subsequent so-called artists of similar vein. The crew making
the furniture adjustments openly displays movements attuned
to the background sound waves to imitate the gyrations of Mick
Jagger, Pete Townsend, Alice Cooper, David Bowie and Michael
Jackson, among others. In case you haven't thought about it,
these things were unknown in 1773.
But there are other elements imported into the play itself, that
could never have been part of the original script, such as
mention of "the Revolution" in regards to adopting paganism into
social mores, or outright defiance against the authority of the
Recall that Vat.II was the French Revolution in the Church.
Mention is made of a marriage happening the next day, and that
was in context of two people who had not previously made
known any intentions to marry. I shouldn't need to remind you
of the Church's rules regarding wedding announcements, even
In general, the body language of the actors makes one think
they are really restraining themselves to not 'let their hair down'
and act the way they really want to act. Allusion is made
toward sins of impurity and even homosexuality, to which the
audience responded dutifully with giggles, which were better
timed than the yowling of the coyotes in the nearby distance.
There were children in the audience of all ages. I observed
several being adversely affected so as to evoke from them
well-enunciated concerns over the more obvious immoral
aspects of the performance. Out of the mouths of babes!
I'd like to know why a man can't take his family to a so-called
family play like this, without having to subject his children to
seeing and hearing things that they should not have to see or