Sunday, April 21, 2019

Play a Day: The Subtle, Sublime Transformation of Benny V.

Steven G. Martin
Twenty-one new plays in twenty-one days!

For Sunday I read The Subtle, Sublime Transformation of Benny V. by Steven G. Martin and available at New Play Exchange.

Recently someone asked why I do this, why read a play a day for a month.

The first answer is that I like to. Reading these new plays, often unproduced plays, most written by playwrights I am unfamiliar with, it makes me feel part of the community. Not just the personal community, of getting to know the writers themselves, but the community of what is being written today, and how it is being written.

The follow-up response addresses this particular exercise, why a play a day? Why this one month? The month is tradition, I was compelled to do this two years ago, and it was almost April. So that’s why April, it also just happens to be a perfect month for this, the right time of year. The weather is changing, my responsibilities are lower. I have time for this.

But why a play a day? Why not read a new play whenever, when I have time. Because I am compulsive. Because I am a procrastinator. Because on any given day I could read a play, or do laundry. Read a play or take a run. Read a play or do absolutely anything else.

By setting a goal, though, I must compulsively meet it. And so I read thirty plays in one month when I otherwise might read a dozen. Or fewer. And by logging them here I hold myself accountable.

Which brings me to today’s play, The Subtle, Sublime Transformation of Benny V. by Steven G. Martin, an entirely appropriate script to read on a morning of rebirth and renewal and liberation. What starts as a workplace comedy expands into a warm, open-hearted exploration of the human experience, and one man’s adventures attempt to experience life and everything it has to offer.

It also has a lot to say about cynicism and doubt, those trolls who surround us and live within us, who work tirelessly to tear down even our most modest ambitious. Senior year in high school I took Psychology and learned that self-actualized people are insufferable to those who are not. Ah, well.

How do you art? Do you write? Do you paint? Do you cook? What is most valuable, the product or the doing? The destination or the journey? I myself have had a tenuous relationship with visual art (more on that here) but it brings me joy and I would very much like to return to that place. Reading this play was a reminder of why, and also how.

Who should I read tomorrow?

No comments:

Post a Comment