It’s spring at last, and walking through Saint-Lambert last week, I saw a lawn that was all flower and no grass. This seemed perfect.
The enjoyment of a work of art, the acceptance of an irresistible illusion, constituting, to my sense, our highest experience of ‘luxury,’ the luxury is not greatest, by my consequent measure, when the work asks for as little attention as possible. It is greatest, it is delightfully, divinely great, when we feel the surface, like the thick ice of the skater’s pond, bear without cracking the strongest pressure we throw on it. The sound of the crack one may recognize, but never to call it luxury.
—Henry James, Preface to The Wings of the Dove
A one man show in which Alexander the Great, on his deathbed, offers a chronological history of his military campaigns in Asia. I’ve been working through a history of Ancient Greece and was interested.
Laurent Gaudé’s script is like a textbook—I’m actually not sure why it would have be written or staged as a play—but the actor Emmanuel Schwartz uses it as the occasion for a show of force. I didn’t necessarily care for what he was doing and his performance was often by necessity of arbitrary—the text isn’t creating options for him—but there’s no denying that it’s powerful work.
The passion for setting people right is in itself an afflictive disease.