Arts Important to Cultural Awareness and Self-Esteem

by RoxyRegionalTheatre on July 22, 2011

I didn’t really mind much that the dozen flags I purchased from the dollar store and displayed beside the theatre for Independence Day were stolen. But I do mind that they were broken off and left as crude spikes. They would have been easy enough to pull away from the duct tape that held them — no need to have broken them off.

I’m in a quandary as to what one would want with broken flags, a bit like the planters filled with flowers. They, like the flags, are for all of us, not exclusively, but universally for all. The flag theft was most hurtful because we as Clarksvilleans struggle for recognition as the most patriotic city. So someone did their bit to undermine those efforts. The flags were less than $20, all told, the labor was my own and the theatre always has a plethora of duct tape. But, then again, I felt an obligation to make the time and effort to remove the tape and the broken sticks. The time. The effort.

I have evil thoughts which pop into my head from time to time, but maybe it’s due to maturity (or rather old age) that I choose not to act upon them. I bite my tongue more and wish unwell on others less. Perhaps I am making more out of this flag business than necessary. However, it’s not the cost of the flags, but the cost to our dignity.

I watch the Tony Awards every year. The Tony is named for Antoinette Perry, an actress my grandmother actually knew and admired. She named my father John Perry for her, and I got seconds as a Jr. This year, the “Best Play” category was an emotional one for me, since one of the nominee’s playwright, Stephen Adly Guirgis, had been a student of mine at the Rhodes School in New York. His play did not win; the National Theatre of Great Britain’s War Horse won. I wonder how many Olivier Awards an American play has won over there? We do not have a national theatre, unfortunately, but we do have a state theatre. And Clarksville has the Roxy, this city’s only professional theatre.

Every time I hear a politician mention cutting the arts, I shudder in my tracks. The arts, especially the ones we created as a nation — jazz, musical theatre, etc. — are so easily discounted and are the first to be overlooked. I wish they could have seen our “informance,” the finale of the Parks and Rec Summer Playhouse. Perhaps they could, with their own eyes, see what happens and hear how it impacts the self-esteem, cultural awareness and poise a child can develop in six short weeks. I am pleased and proud to live in a city that finds arts and heritage important.

The Sound of Music continues at 7pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays and at 8pm on Fridays and Saturdays, through August 27.

See you at the theatre!

[John McDonald]

Previous post:

Next post: