Monday, February 16, 2009



As ETG prepares to put on their second short form piece revolving around the theme of “love,” I can’t help but consider the other great artists that have attempted to capture that elusive theme.

Love? What is it?

Language. For William Shakespeare it involved two young lovers foolishly killing themselves. For David Mamet it was just another dirty word. And for Noel Coward it was two adults arguing over martinis. Regardless, in the minds of these playwrights love always involved unhappiness, both physical and emotional. Literary fiction does not fair much better, with greats such as Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With The Wind, Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina or Boris Pasternak’s Doctor Zhivago always leaving lovers separated and unhappy.

Music. Fiona Apple, Patsy Cline, Eliot Smith, Conor Oberst… all talented musicians who rarely choose to sing about puppies or world peace, but rather heartbreak. Yet love isn’t only pain. After all, there’s that glorious crush phase, where you walk by your love’s locker ten times a day in the hope of running into them. Then there is the puppy-love phase, where you and your newfound paramour want to be around one another 24/7 and hold hands until you give one another hives. Certainly, some artists choose to create based on those experiences, yet those creative ventures are outnumbered far more by pieces surrounding the negative aspects of romance and affection. If you can name me a happy opera involving love I can name you ten other tragic ones.

What is it about romantic unhappiness that makes such fantastic art? And what do we do about it? Do we spurn all future romantic endeavors and live alone? Or do we go out again and again and embrace the possibly dashed hopes and future unhappiness, only to use those emotions in our next creative endeavor?

I don’t have any answers. I just have these rambles. And one hell of a great heartbreak music mix.

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