“Make it work” is one of PostScript’s favorite theater mottoes, “it” being whatever crisis is attempting to sabotage the thing you are trying to do.

One advantage of the PostScript bunker is that it keeps out about 99 percent of the influence of the outside world, protecting PostScript from unnecessary startlings such as daylight and other people. But one of the few experiences with which PostScript is personally familiar is live theater, which is one of the most terrifying things in the world. You try to do a thing, and a bunch of events beyond your control might happen! No. PostScript prefers to adhere to a strict schedule. Her stress-caused heart attack will occur Nov. 3.

So PostScript read Dana Milbank’s column today about the stagey Republican National Convention trying to make its live theater work in the midst of circumstances beyond its control, and she became immediately afraid. Party conventions are ALL ABOUT control and pageantry and studiously pretending to be real human beings and the effect on the audience of the various things that happen. The mere thought of a stage manager watching a hurricane approach has PostScript reaching for the pneumatic drill to make a bunker for the bunker.

Politics is ALWAYS theater, to the point that the audience only really reacts anymore or believes anything that happens if it seems to be happening by mistake. What people remember about plays are the times someone flubbed a line or brought out the wrong prop or a three-legged dog ran up onstage in the middle of a monologue. So, as Milbank has written, the drama really comes from how it is made to work.

What effect does the liveness of theater have on the performance itself? When, say, the only thing TV news loves more than a convention, a dramatic storm, happens at the same time? Anderson Cooper leaves. Something real happened, right there onstage. It’s terrifying.

bls2011 runs the theater metaphor past the goalposts:

Hey, where else can you get such a theatre of the absurd?

Who could not fail to appreciate the millions, perhaps billions of dollars spent on the well-rehearsed, carefully crafted performance to make a billionaire presidential candidate, who changes positions daily with a decided facility for verbal gaffes, appear as the perfect combination of Abraham Lincoln and Robert E. Lee and a strident rightwing extremist VP candidate seem as warm and fuzzy as Mr. Rogers with abs.

Nothing could describe political conventions better than the words of Samuel Beckett,

“They give birth astride of a grave, the light gleams an instant, then it’s night once more.”

As for me, I’m waiting for Godot and it appears, Mr. Milbank from your picture that you are as well.

Wow. Multiple Beckett references. Twenty points. Anyone else? Moliere, maybe?


Conventions may be obsolete but this one goes one step further: It is a farce.

We have a presidential candidate for the Republican Party that will announce the details of his budget proposal [only] if he gets elected - for fear that the Democrats will use it against him.

Hm. PostScript would add more mistaken identity and slamming doors and French people, but she’ll take it. What other theater metaphors have we?


Kabuki Theater is right on. Standard characters each playing their designated role.


goodisgood can see backstage, and it ain’t pretty:

I live in the Tampa area, and this is ridiculous. 15 miles from the Convention Hall cops guard bridges into Clearwater 24 hours a day, light flashing. Some bridges are closed. Cop cars line the beach areas, which are nowhere near the convention area but which I guess have some delegates in hotels. Downtown Tampa is closed, heavily guarded and chain-linked, and appears to be getting ready for a visit by Jesus Christ to Iran. What are they expecting?

lguy1 sees the convention as actually . . . making it work. They’re making crisis-ade:

The GOP must be secretly thankful for Isaac: the convention is shortened and the media’s attention diverted to Isaac’s likely New Orleans landfall. Bottom line, less prime-time exposure and fewer chances for troglodyte “legitimate rape”-like quotes to be aired and unsettle moderate voters.

The best thing that could possibly happen, according to this line of logic, is that the convention occurs without the audience noticing, just vaguely remembering it happened. Yeah, PostScript has seen plays like that.