BBC had a Sondheim retrospective concert as part of their Holiday programming on Radio 3. I listened in part because it contained a concert version of Company. I worked on the first amateur production of Company at MIT in 1971 and I list my virginity to Company to a woman I now recognize as a soft butch. It was an unsynchronized mess, mostly because the one with the cock wasn’t cocky enough to handle it. Ah, if I had been able to know then what I know now, well. . .
One of the first songs was “Anyone Can Whistle,” where a damned intellectual talks about how they can do things that are hard for others, but things that are easy, like whistling, not so easy for them. Needless to say, I get that song.
It also made me remember an article in the New York Times talking about the new productions of Sweeney Todd and Sundays In The Park With George, noting that when you took Sondheim’s work off the big Broadway boards and made it intimate, the cool thought revealed the emotion which underlays it. Needless to say, I get that notion. In fact, it’s what I think is revealed in my work.
Anyone can whistle, well anyone but me. I know that I avoid things most people do as a matter of course. I ask for affirmation that others believe that I can do these things, but somehow, it’s not easy to say “Yes, You Can!” to someone who appears a bit, well, how did The Other Drama Queen put it on October — appears “almost psychotic.”
“Yes, You Can’t!” seems to be the lesson I hear, and giving courage — encouraging — isn’t something most people want to do with me. Hell, I’m scary when I’m beat down and wary, how scary would I be if I could just do it?
I don’t know. But I do know that finding someone to say “Yes, You Can!” seems, well, too much.