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Stefan Haves

Stefan Haves

Posted: August 27, 2010 05:38 PM

Vaudeville -- Alive and Well in 2010

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Remember in the old Frankenstein movies when that big scary monster had to plug-in to rejuvenate after an exhausting day of alleged raping and pillaging? Plugging in would "recharge" him all night until he felt chipper again and ready to wreak havoc on local towns whose armed combatants wore stinky wool and carried torches.

Things are different today. Instead of plugging in to recharge, as our friend Frankenstein once did, we simply plug-in to be plugged in. When we are unplugged from the computer, this is when we recharge or dare I say, sleep or dream. During waking hours, like a dog licking his mountain oysters, we plug into the digital inter-grid because we can. And we do. Constantly. I do. I will cease communication with the woman I love to get a message from an acquaintance I would avoid in a 7-11 about a topic which interests me less than Justin Bieber.

So what is the answer? How do we stop the multi-task madness, the lack of here and now awareness? The mirage of Facebook's false priorities? Tweeting that you like Ross Dress 4 Less? Answer? In small doses. And we must do it together. We can't go this one alone. Like all friends of Bill, the addicts in the world must open their own attic door revealing the sunshine of others -- the 'Collective Power of We' must overpower the seductive 'Blackberry of Me.' it may be an AA meeting which will bring one a sense of salvation. Another very real salve is Theatre or more specifically -- Vaudeville.

Why Vaudeville? In the world of YouTube -- as a human in 2010, perhaps we can all agree that our three favorite letters are -- A.D.D -- Attention Deficit Disorder. It is not a disorder, it is a necessity today. Okay guys, from here forth the acronym A.D.D. will be replaced by A.D.N. -- Attention Deficit Necessity.

So let's celebrate our necessary disorder by showing up altogether in a theatre. Once seated, we will all turn off our cell phones collectively. We will make a deal to get off the grid for about an hour and fifteen minutes. No intermission. An intermission is a slippery slope regarding our mandate (out of the pocket or purse -- push the button -- no!)

The content is in life, not on a gizmo. This content shared by all will be universal visual bliss like a beautiful acrobat or an aerialist. We will together marvel at the juggler who has spent way too much time with inanimate objects -- but we will not mock him like it's a Stupid Human Trick on David Letterman. Let us dare to collectively feel a sense of 'Awe' -- an emotion repressed by all in this day and age. This collective sense of 'Awe' is a necessary component in all cultures. Cirque du Soleil recognized this fact and has profited handsomely. But beauty is not enough -- visual bliss must be tempered and contrasted with mortal, honest, simple comedy. The audience needs the bridge to fully join the party on stage, and brilliant physical comedians or dare I say -- clowns are the bridge which we must cross to welcome a collective non-cynical evening of wonder and accessibility. We all know the word Cirque and it makes us feel warm and fuzzy as we reminisce on the first Cirque du Soleil show which captured our innocence and enthusiastic thumbs up.

In exploring a vaudeville show, I add the word Comique to our zeitgiest, a European spin on clowning with an Americana silent film sensibility. So now we come to the moment of the shameless plug. I have just the show for you. It is called Your Town Follies. And I dare humans of every age to join the movement of leaving your digital priorities for a lil over an hour and see who is on stage, who is seated next to you -- and to touch the wonder of community combining laughter and beauty. This show is currently playing at the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood, California. But I envision such spectacles in every town. Imagine celebrating the musicians, singers, circus performers, and comedians in your own town. Muse about your teenager looking forward to a family event of an evening of theatre and not rushing back to the grid! Think about it. Vaudeville is now waiting for you to be open to a naïve sense of wonder and fun. I'm done. You may now fire-up your iPhone -- but, unlike Frankenstein, you won't be recharged. You will be alone with letters on a small square screen. As long as you're there -- go to www.yourtownfollies.com. Take a break and LOL with others in person about stuff to really LOL about!