Sunday, August 30, 2009

postmodern absurdities

Not all that long ago, I put up a post referring to this performance of the song Zing A Little Zong, from the film Just For You, starring Jane Wyman and Bing Crosby.

It was a fairly simple allusion, and an embedded posting of the clip.
Nothing very special or challenging.

But that particular post was the focus of a series of thoughts I had just the other night, which started with a joking reference to the generally true factoid that those who mock postmodernism
are usually those who understand least its definition, or elaboration.
Of course, there's the occasional other kind - the ironic gesture to the failings of postmodernism, from the perspective of those who know and love it.
But it's the first version that interested us in this instance.

And it was at this moment that I interjected with a theory that had the time periods clearly made it impossible to claim such a thing, the invention of absurdist thatre would have been claimed as postmodern by those who knew it least.
That in fact, it was likely that a number of people had managed to blunderingly claimed such a thing, dispite the historical inaccuracy of that view.
Absurdist theatre - with its conventions of self-reference to the trappings of the theatre from even within the play - certainly tends to the 'idiot's guide' to the postmodern.

Then one of the others in the conversation chips in to say that they would certainly see absurdist theatre of all kinds - be they modern or, say, for example, that genuinely awful (indeed verging on tortuous) rendition of Exit the King at the Malthouse a couple of years ago - as a form of postmodernist extension.

And so, immediately, I turned to that clip.
How they talk about picking up the melody of the song, and putting it down, and the constant references to the frame of the musical, their rendition of it, and the performing of their version even within the boundaries of the song itself. Why, even the dance gestures to particular cinventions of musical theatre, and their (in)accurate interpetation of them.

How very postmodern.

Clearly my mind works in surprisingly consistent ways.
Postmodern theory, postmodern musical clips.

Just for you.

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