Wednesday, January 23, 2008

MORRIEBUND

mor·i·bund

adjective

1. in a dying state; near death.
2. on the verge of extinction or termination.
3. not progressing or advancing; stagnant.


Hmmm.

Talk about a confluence of coincidences;
the title character of the book has a name
that seems to come from the Latin word for Death.

And the book, and play is all about Dying.


And while 90% of the people watching the
excellent staging of Tuesdays With Morrie
by Repertory Philippines last Friday night
were completely absorbed by the drama,

I was falling asleep,
and actually nodded off at least twice.

Had I snored,
I'm sure I would have died of embarassment.



My very own "Snoozedaze With Morrie"!!!








There's absolutely nothing wrong with the production;
as a matter of fact, it's at par with, or even better,
than most stagings of the play, based on the reviews
of the international productions that I've read online.

Baby Barredo, one of the last remaining originals of Rep,
has put another feather in her theater cap,
masterfully guiding the world-class performances
of her two-man cast:
Jose Mari Avellana as Morrie,
and Bart Guingona as Mitch Albom.





The problem lies with the source material.

I never read the book,
so I didn't really know what to expect,
except, that millions cried while reading it,
and I fully expected to shed buckets while watching it;

my apologies to all of those who loved the novel,
but if the stage adaptation is any indication,
it was a work of infinite hooey and malarkey.



Again, sorry to all my friends and family
who found life-changing truths in the book,

but based on the dialogues between Morrie and Mitch,
it's one big waterfall of clichés
and oversimplified truisms.



I also thought that The Purpose-Driven Life
should have been subtitled The Dollar-Driven Scam,

and The Secret, The ShitCreek.


I abhor overwrought "stating the obvious" bestsellers
that serve pablum in an ersatz literary package.

Tuesdays for Morrie, for me, is exactly that kind of book.





I'm sure I would have loved the real Morrie Schwartz,
the professor who lit a fire under the sportswriter/author's ass,
but the real Mitch Albom just seems like a callous ass.


He forgets all about his mentor after graduation,
and only comes back 16 years later,
perhaps to exorcise his demons,
to make himself truly live life,
as Morrie loses his.

Granted, Albom's a master of Oprah-style aphorisms,
the kind of quote like "don't hide your light under a bushel",
that drives American audiences into paroxysms of pleasure.


No big surprise there;
sappy minds think alike,
and make millions of $$$ in a like manner.

Oprah produced the two-hankie tearfest TV Movie version:


My thoughts about that light under a bushel?

Get it out from under there, Mitch,
lest you burn down your whole frickin' house.


Matthew said it better;
yup, that MATTHEW, a much better writer who co-wrote
another little bestseller called The Bible:

"Neither do men light a candle,
and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick;
and it giveth light unto all that are in the house."

Matthew 5:15




I don't mean to sound too cynical.

I'm positive that Morrie's message
did help a lot of people who never had
anyone around to say the basic truths
that needed to be said, and understood.


I do know that I was, and still am fortunate
to have met my own Morries very early on in my life:

my father, Eddie Enriquez,
and one of his best friends,
my godfather, Eduardo "Dave" David.

That's my Ninong on the left,
beside his drinking buddy, my dad, on the right.



They were two of the most erudite wordsmiths
I'd ever met, a couple of lawyers
who, by their sheer command of language
brought about by their love of reading,

and by virtue of their examples as Men and as Fathers,
were able to teach me, at a very young age,
how best to live my life.

I like to think that they established in me
a way of thinking based on a combination
a legalist's "dura lex, sed lex" realism
and an idealist's boundless optimism,
built on a foundation of old-school moral values.



My Ninong Dave passed away last Monday,
a few days before I watched the play last Friday,

and maybe that's why Mitch Albom's popular play
didn't resonate with me:

I was already in the midst of living my very own
"Tuesdays With Morrie".
















3 Comments:

Anonymous wendy said...

spanx, somehow i can't quite see you picking up something stamped 'oprah's book club.' whenever i see that seal, it's like the kiss of death for a book, i run screaming the other way.

January 23, 2008 at 6:24 PM  
Blogger spanx said...

Oprah Anathema. hahaha!

see you and your hubby at the Hot Air Balloonfest,
Wendy!

January 24, 2008 at 12:05 AM  
Anonymous wendy said...

yeah, though not because i don't like her, she has tremendous appeal. but just what the seal means. publishers do it to push sales, period. (of course there's the flip side of bringing books people otherwise won't read to a wider audience, i get that). BUT. so much of our lives is already taken over by mass media and mass marketing. i am standing firm and saying, hands off, oprah! my literary selections are my own.

did you ever hear about what happened between her and jonathan franzen when she tried to put the seal on his book? :-D

yay, balloonfest! coming up soon, see you then.

January 24, 2008 at 9:04 PM  

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