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January 31, 2022

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The most memorable date of my life was to a performance of Antigone - this production. But it's not the play that I remember.

I've said before that the most memorable theatrical experience of my life was Peter Brook's A Midsummer Night's Dream, not one of my favourite plays (this is an understatement) but still talked about by many as completely, appropriately, magical. Nobody who saw it has ever forgotten it, and my friend and I sat there desperate for it never to end.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RSC_production_of_A_Midsummer_Night%27s_Dream_(1970)

https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2019/jun/10/a-midsummer-nights-mystery-my-search-for-peter-brook-dream-rsc

Since then, in my adulthood, Mark Rylance in Jerusalem. And, to my delight, he is to appear in it again this summer, and I managed to get tickets, and for people to whom I had raved and who had been unable to do so.

https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2009/jul/19/jerusalem-royal-court-review

https://www.nimaxtheatres.com/shows/jerusalem/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerusalem_(play)

For me, I think the most memorable was when the local (amateur, volunteer) light opera company did Gilbert and Sullivan's Mikado. The memorable part being the scenery.

We had minimal budget for scenery, and a need to shift between multiple locations (frequently lacking back stage area, e.g. junior high multipurpose rooms). So we needed something special. We created 8 shoji screens, on wheels. One side of each being blank, the others being something we needed for scenery. For example, one with a willow tree.

Scene changes involved a couple of people, in black haori and hakama, walking out in full view of the audience and spinning the appropriate shoji around. Worked just fine. And it taught me that, in theater, there are sometimes very different ways to deal with problems.

This is about theater of a sort:

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/there-is-more-than-one-big-lie/

Still, polling gives us a glimpse of the most popular theories on the Big Lie menu. Last summer, a YouGov/CBS News poll asked voters who thought there had been widespread voter fraud and irregularities in the 2020 election exactly what they thought had happened. They were asked about various sources of voting and how much of the voter fraud came from those sources, either “a lot of it,” “some of it” or “hardly any or none.”

Seventy-seven percent said “a lot” of voter fraud and irregularities had come from ballots cast by mail, and 70 percent said a lot of it had come from voting machines or equipment that were manipulated, but just 22 percent said a lot of the fraud had come from ballots cast in person. Racism also appeared to inform a lot of thinking around the Big Lie: 72 percent said a lot of the fraud had come from ballots cast in major cities and urban areas, compared with 22 percent and 14 percent who said a lot of it had come from suburbs and rural areas, respectively. And 39 percent of those who believed voter fraud was widespread said “a lot” of fraud had come from ballots cast in Black communities, while 25 percent said so for white communities and 27 percent said so for voters in Hispanic communities.

The University of Massachusetts Amherst and YouGov fielded a similar poll in December, asking those who said Biden’s victory was probably or definitely illegitimate to choose from a list of options all the reasons they believed that to be true. In that group, 83 percent said they believed fraudulent ballots had been counted, 81 percent said they believed absentee ballots had been cast using dead people’s identities and 76 percent endorsed the theory that ineligible voters had cast ballots. Just 39 percent said they believed voting machines had been reprogrammed by foreign governments to change ballots from Trump to Biden.

“It’s important to note that people are not just picking everything,” said Alexander Theodoridis, a political science professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst who fielded the survey. “Pure expressive responding would be like, ‘Yeah, everything was wrong with this election. It’s all this stuff.’ Whereas the way they did it suggests they do have at least some critical view of some of these [theories].”

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