I know it’s summer but outdoor entertainment is for the birds

To quote Woody Allen: “The sun was the bane of my existence”. And while I know I immediately lost many of you by starting seriously with a quote from Woody Allen, I’m sorry – he’s the only famous person who has ever said anything negative about the sun, so he must do it.

The sun’s PR is overwhelmingly bright. It’s glowing. It shines. “The sun, hearth of affection and life, pours out burning love on the enraptured earth.” That’s Rimbaud, at least according to the Google search for “good quotes about the sun,” which I just did to complete my argument substantiate People love the sun. As soon as summer comes, everyone says, “Let’s go outside!” even though they’ve been out for nine months and haven’t mentioned it at all.

Nobody needs surround sound cicadas.

Nobody needs surround sound cicadas.

But sometimes the sun is annoying. In summer for example. There are the obvious reasons – global warming, drought, thirst – but more importantly, do I wear a jacket in case it gets chilly? So I have to wear a t shirt but then also a jacket for 11 hours in case it gets chilly when the sun finishes its shift? Great, thanks sun. In the non-summer I can just wear the jacket all day, you know? Nothing foreign draped over my forearm or tucked under my armpit. Just completely hands-free and happy. I’m sure that’s exactly what Woody Allen has on his mind in July (Northern Hemisphere folks).

To put it bluntly, summer – because of the sun I guess – is also the time of year when arts companies and event organizers start to host their events outdoors, taking advantage of our good climate and beautiful natural surroundings. There is outdoor cinema, theater and opera. The thought is, “It’s summer. People want to be outside!” Just because it’s summer, we suddenly have to expropriate roofs.

But entertainment wasn’t made for nature. Sure, maybe that’s how it started, back when everything was in an “amphitheater” or a “colosseum.” But then one day, an amateur architect sat on an uncomfortable stone pedestal during an early production of, say, Antigone and struggling to hear Sophocles’ words over the screeching of, I don’t know, pterosaurs, looked up, stroked his beard, drew a stylus and a bag of damp ash from his loincloth, and designed a roof. And we’ve been enjoying entertainment the right way ever since. Away from nature.

Whoever invented outdoor film screenings was a true cinema hater (or alternatively, an avid supporter of silent films, which are the only films suitable for outdoor use). Outdoor movies make me angry.

“Oh, so you’re excited to see this The Banshees by Inisherin, are you? Here, try to decipher it above the loud rustling of leaves in the wind, the deafening chirping of cicadas and the frightening horns of ibises. It’s supposed to be fun!” Every movie I saw in an outdoor cinema I had to watch like an amnesiac in the comfort of my own home. Who has time to watch the same movie twice just to “get” it? Even in an outdoor cinema there are no loungers.

Outdoor opera is even worse. First, it’s just a sad spectacle. All those people in fancy black ties who have to traipse through mud and wet jacaranda leaves to get to their seats; there is no dignity. Then, to make sufficient use of the outdoors, the production always has to throw in a ridiculously over-the-top set piece: a helicopter dropping off Cio-Cio San Mrs ButterflyFireworks to introduce Escamillo to carmen. Is this an opera or a film by James Cameron? (I’m asking this rhetorically because James Cameron films are operas, don’t be elitist.)

https://www.smh.com.au/culture/theatre/i-know-it-s-summer-but-outdoor-entertainment-is-for-the-birds-20221222-p5c89d.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_culture I know it’s summer but outdoor entertainment is for the birds

Jaclyn Diaz

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