Friday 12 December 2008

an amazing moment

Grains of Sand linked last week (2 Dec) to Chris Goodall’s observation that ‘the London opera houses have had more taxpayer money than the British marine power industry over the past few years.’ GoS adds, ‘It should not, of course, have to be either/or, and neither I nor, I am sure, Chris Goodall would want to suggest such a thing.’

One person who does describe these kinds of choices in terms of either/or, and who himself earns his living in the arts, is the playwright Wallace Shawn. In his thoroughly discomforting play The Fever (1991), he writes,

'And there’s an amazing moment: each day, before the day starts, before the market opens, before the bidding begins, there’s a moment of confusion. The money is silent, it hasn’t yet spoken. Its decisions are withheld, poised, perched, ready. Everyone knows that the world will not do everything today; if food is produced for the hungry children, then certain operas will not be performed; if certain performances are in fact given, then the food won’t be produced, and the children will die.'

The Royal Court's season of Wallace Shawn plays opens next Spring.

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