Like much of Melville, Billy Budd is as more a treatise than a tale: a meditation on "maleness" as a philosophic quality. Melville loved the ambiguities hidden in the male drive for action and greater purpose.
Standing ovations are so prevalent they are meaningless. The consensus is that ticket buyers paying so much for a seat rise at curtain calls in order to convince themselves they've just gotten their money's worth. There are occasions, however, when standing O's are indisputably meaningful.
Popular baritone Nathan Gunn portrays Jesus, referred to here as Yeshua. No matter the format or venue, even for the most equipped candidate, acting-out the Son of Man is not an opportunity that comes around very often.
At 74, his eyes are still exceptionally blue and a little bit mischievous. He sits calmly, listens to a question about how often he is offered roles like the one he plays in Unfinished Song, and smiles.
No bright line marks the boundary between illness and health. At the extremes it is easy to diagnose mental illness accurately and to distinguish it from normality. At the fuzzy border, it is impossible.