Ready, Ayn, Fire
It was a delight to see Ayn Rand mentioned on your cover and to learn that her play, Night of January 16th, was being offered on Tybee Island. Because of your article, my wife and I attended, with high expectations, the Tybee Arts Performing Society’s (TAPS) opening night presentation.
It was exciting to attend a small, intimate, live performance with good lighting, fair sound and a professional courtroom setting. The legal atmosphere was enhanced by getting the audience to rise for each entrance of the judge, and also by having the witnesses come out of the audience when called to take the stand and testify.
TAPS took more artistic license in the production by moving the trial from New York to a rural Georgia courthouse complete with southern accents, mannerisms and stereotypes. Disappointingly, they excluded a lot of the philosophical dialogue that made the play thought provoking.
The performers did an excellent job (Bonnie Terrell as Karen Andre and Arnie Correa as Guts Regan both were superb), but the attempt to lighten the seriousness of the drama rubbed me the wrong way. I think they really wanted to perform a comedy.
The police inspector was portrayed as a Clouseau crossed with Colombo; the night watchman was presented as a bumbling, hard-of-hearing, Captain Kangaroo, and the “middle-aged, precise, dignified …” professional hand-writing expert became a shuffling, raspy-voiced, dowdy graphologist.
On the night I attended, the jurors, who were asked beforehand if they would willingly serve, included a giggly woman who refused to play along once in the box. Encouragingly, at the end, the jurors did return the correct verdict.
It was disheartening to me that TAPS wasn’t able do justice to Ayn Rand’s work despite having the talent to make a sincere presentation. I might have been forewarned had I read TAPS’ web site (www.tybeearts.org/performing-arts.html) where they stated that: “This play is a quirky murder trial with the Jury selected from the audience.”
The Night of January 16th is ingenious, original, and inspiring, but “quirky” it is not. I encourage everyone to read the play, ponder its message, and reach their own verdict.
Ayn Rand, in her 1968 introduction to the play, wrote that the idea dominating the culture then was “the belief that if a literary work is ‘serious,’ it must bore people to death; and if it is ‘entertaining,’ it must not communicate anything of importance.”
Well, sadly, things haven’t changed. To paraphrase Ayn Rand, although the Night of January 16th played in our part of the world, it wasn’t produced.
Hopefully your reference to the play will inspire some Connect readers to take a sober interest in all of Ayn Rand’s stirring fictional and ground-breaking philosophical works.
Objectivist Society of Savannah
Chavez was right
The “my country right or wrong” crowd is howling about the remarks about President Bush by President Chavez of Venezuela and President Ahmedinajad of Iran.
Chavez is actually justified in calling Bush the devil; the devil is after all the “father of lies,” and Bush plays this role to a tee.
As for Ahmedinajad, well yes he does deny the Holocaust took place, but if Israel would stop exploiting the Holocaust for its own selfish reasons then perhaps the Iranian leader would stop pretending it had never happened.
You, too, Canada?
What bothers me about the Maher Arar case is not so much the incompetence and inaccuracy and violations of policy by Canada’s Royal Canadian Mounted Police. A mistake can be understood. A mistake can be corrected. A mistake can be forgiven.
What bothers me is the acquiescence, by the RCMP, by the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service, and by Foreign Affairs, in the U.S./Syria kidnapping and torture of a Canadian citizen and the RCMP feeding of questions for Syria to ask Mr. Arar under torture.
But evil? Torture? All the Canadian officials involved should at the least lose their jobs, and at most face charges of conspiracy to torture. These people have moral flaws that will take a lifetime to correct.