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The Tentacle


December 17, 2003

Weinberg’s Ad-libbed Play Is Redundant

Alan Imhoff

Recently while doing one of favorite pastimes, channel surfing at the dinner hour, I chanced upon a meeting of the Mayor and Board of Aldermen of the City of Frederick on our local cable system.

Maybe it was the time of the year, maybe it was the time of the day when everyone is tired, but it seemed the “play” of the Weinberg Center, Act 20, Scene 42 with no intermission in sight was on the agenda - again.

As being played out, it made you wonder if the actors had bothered to read the script before launching into this scene. The old props and lines were all there from previous scenes, yet the actors were trying to make the play seem new and refreshing.

Attempts at trying to bring closure to the scene seemed elusive if not downright impossible to achieve.

At points during the scene, several members of the cast tried to make the play “dramatic,” while others wanted to cast about for a chance to resurrect some form of slapstick. It seems, however, the length of this play is going to be longer than the troubles in the original screenplay.

Since this play is being done in a new medium, broadcast television, the opportunity for a live audience to chime in like the Greek choruses of old with “enough already!” is remote.

One of the interesting new twists of this revised play was to introduce a new device to grab the attention of patrons of the arts, where every patron was suppose to be paying a couple of pennies a day, every year to support the Weinberg.

While I do not have all the most current figures, my rough calculations for my property tax bill comes to about 1.2 cents per day or $4.41 a year.

This is about the same I pay for “Traffic Lines” in Department 3522 of the same recommended budget.

Somehow I believe most people would rather be entertained for 1.2 cents per day than watching paint dry.

But back to the current scene, with the actors on stage now I am paying roughly 4.6 cents per day of my property taxes to watch them for the most part “ad lib” this play. Maybe we should restore part of their cost back to what gives us better entertainment, where at least professionals know their lines.

To put this in another perspective, recent information indicates that we as taxpayers are each paying between 1.2 and 2.4 cents per day (based on a 365 day year) for a massive consultant study for the Comprehensive Plan update. If this were true, the total cost would equate to roughly 2 to 3 years of support for the Weinberg.

Just imagine, the city could give its residents the opportunity to see plays, musicals, movies, etc. and have a fun time instead of a weighty tome that most of us will not be able to read or understand, even if we were interested.

It all boils down to priorities and a perception of what “things” bring the best benefit to the most people.

For me I am not interested in watching paint dry, I would rather have my pennies a day spent on an opportunity to bring joy to young audiences by experiencing their first live “Nutcracker Ballet” in a downtown landmark.

“As in theater, the eyes of men, After a well-grac’d actor leaves the stage, Are idly bent on him that enters next.”



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