Grimly Handsome @ City Garage

February 23, 2017


In a quick, spindle-wheel rotation of under 90 minutes in length, Grimly Handsome meanders its way through the epicenter of supposed contemporary Manhattan life, which is scintillated by aberrant human behaviors which generally are considered unethical. The double-edged sword of housing a pressure cooker of human originality, however authentic that reality is at least it is attempted or pretended, is that deviating from normalcy can lead to degeneracy. It is not so much pathfinding within humanity for new values for a culture to champion and sustain as it is much more commonplace to simply live out one’s own moral code in a selfish and destructive manner. Having a scaffolding of moral pretense in a society, which ostensibly is encumbering and constraining to those who don’t want to play by the rules, has its self-evident value when embracing not simply the hypothetical deviance, but an actual salutation to upholding what one wants over what is best for everyone.


This is the irony of the cosmopolitan, nay, megalopolitan, civilizational city. That it can support such variegations of life while matter-of-factly most variegations do not protrude anything redeemable, and further, the empty slogans of diversity and all-inclusiveness physiognomically transpire as outright greedy living and inconsideration to the neighbor as thy brother. How common, really, are these mega cities in inculcating trust among its denizens who live stacked on top of each other by the thousands yet barely ask each other for a spare cup of sugar? Community, in this sense, is utterly lacking, which is why it can be surmised the outright trepidation for the bearing of arms can be so frightening, as the normal state of the megalopolitan polis is dealing with people, by the dozens to hundreds, who may never be encountered ever again on Earth. The transactions of being social, therefore, become completely diluted with empathy entirely removed from any social equations. It is truly a war against all that pulsates underneath the dry-bed cement which, if the citizenry were honest with themselves, is the sorest trade-off of possessing the novel multiplicities of possibilities available any waking day. For such possibilities are as ephemeral as their normal day-to-day interaction with their common hood.


And all such an analysis is found bursting through within Grimly Handsome! For as foreshadowed, the amalgamation of such spices of life most commonly barely reveal the springtime orchard fruit that is the succor of human culture. How inefficient this machination is then – the bastion of millions must be poured, like in a stone mill, and crushed to output the rarefied man who brings forth transcendental values? Surely there must be a better way, where the deficits, such as those grimly lit in the play, do not have to be so devastating? Because when the culture becomes exhausted, which has repeatedly been the case throughout all High Cultural history, all that is left is the ruinous trades which lead to civilizational bankruptcy.


To be sure, the motif laid out in Grimly Handsome is more figurative than literal. We do not honestly expect a serial killer year after year to, while aggravating the fears of the city, to be treated so nonchalant. We can see clearly how, say in the instance of the Summer of Sam, diligent the law enforcement was in quelling this downright fear. Yet the play shows us another side of the same coin, how even the investigators are damned in a similar vein as the murderers they are trying to chase; how, once more, this is not a society that seeks to live toward an absolute, but considers, however unconscientiously, its own desires and passions as sufficient for living life. This is brute animal behavior which is masqueraded within the confines of a human society, draped in human fashion and Santa Clause jingles; and it is a wonderful critique then of a society which appears to live far beyond and above feral creatures which chew on murdered bones, but which at base share the same genus which is functionally barbarity. Such is the most common, and disappointingly so, reaction to a nihilistic age, one which does not have a universal set of values for a human being to easily and rewardingly guide them through the blind contours of human existence.


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