I’m returning to theÂ theatah this week, in rehearsals for a production ofÂ West Side StoryÂ at the CarnegieÂ in Covington, KY. Â With this privilege comes theÂ burden ofÂ having to endure that peculiar linguistic habit of stage folk: the rabid overuse of possessive adjectives. Â His lights, her set, your orchestra. Â That last one (along with his actors) I find particularly galling, because it rings of slave days. Â Also: her set? Â She bought and paid for all that wood and paint? Â I know she put a lot of work into building it, work which was paid for by the theatrical organization, whichÂ properly speaking owns the finished product.
Theater People: Use Articles! Â The! Â It’s what makes our language so great â€“ an all-purpose, genderless definitive that needs no declension or agreement! Â Or even better: how about “our”? Â No need to be so territorial â€“ it’s a community here!
Speaking of musicals, as improbable as it sounds, I heard this song on the radio yesterday. Â It’s by Burt Bacharach, whose music has always elicited aÂ genuine physical revulsion in me. Â This particular song contains what might be the worst melody ever written, and the movie, Lost Horizon, was a huge flop. Â In a world laden with injustice, it’sÂ nice to know that something so totally deserving of failure fell flat on its face.