When my daughter asked me at lunch today what MAD BEAT HIP & GONE is really about, I told her — I don’t really know. I knew it was about the beatnik era and two young guys out on the road searching for something. That was about it. There was a time when I would have been worried.
And so, when we were driving to the theatre and her friend asked the same question, I jumped in to say “I am not real sure, but I have learned to trust Dave Steakley. If he thinks we should see this, he is probably right.” And right he was.
I didn’t realize then as I now do that MAD BEAT HIP & GONE is a metaphor for every generation’s passage from idealistic youth to accommodating middle age and back again to idealistic old age. The play is completely timeless in that regard.
When the play ended, I had similar feelings to what I have experienced so many time: gratitude that I had trusted ZACH. Thought provoking, timeless, and ageless — when do we stop wrestling with the two sides of ourselves — idealism vs. accommodation, settling or seeking? I know I haven’t reconciled the two yet and I bounce back and forth between the two, using my civic commitments to somewhat satisfy the yearning for seeking, but really? That’s not really seeking … Who doesn’t dream about setting out on a road trip without a map, focusing instead on the characters met and the lessons to be learned?
So, instead of providing a window into the lives of others as Dave has so often done in the past, tonight he provided a mirror for me. And, I suspect, everyone in the theatre — young, old, man, woman of all ethnicities — had a similar look inside, for this dilemma is universal. It was a healthy introspection.
It was great to see bright new stars on our stage, and, once more, Michael Raiford’s set was the perfect backdrop to display this piece of art — evocative at times, symbolic at others, literal at still others. He designed a perfect environment to convey the appropriate context at each moment.
So, thank you, ZACH, and please thank playwright and director Steven Dietz. We’ll be discussing this production for days and weeks to come.
- Tom Terkel
ZACH Board Trustee, FourT Realty
For tickets and more show info, please visit http://www.zachtheatre.org/show/mad-beat-hip-gone.