Announcing a staged reading of
a two-act comedy by Bill Broder
Monday, February 4, 2013
The Tides Theatre
Upstairs at 533 Sutter Street
Courtesy of San Francisco Bay Area Footlights Series
The Dramatists Guild of America
We need an audience, so please forward this to your friends, and come . It's free. Bill
SILENCE, WITTGENSTEIN! By Bill Broder
The play concerns the tender, knotty friendship and shared intellectual life of two aging philosophers, Wittgenstein and Goodson (modeled after G.E. Moore). The two friends are taken hostage in Wittgenstein's rooms in England by a band of Americans fleeing the police after having stolen millions of American dollars. The Americans, masquerading as entertainers for the U.S. military, claim that they are really working for the Central Intelligence Agency in an operation designed to correct the imbalance of world trade. In an absurd clash of manners calling up the ghosts of past movie stars, black activism, feminism, covert monetary machinations, and logical positivism, the revolutionary passions of the New World shatter the decorum of the Old World. Although the play is a comic fantasy, the playwright based the material in the play upon Ludwig Wittgenstein's thought and personality. Wittgenstein was an avid fan of American movies, particularly westerns. His favorite stars were Betty Grable and Carmen Miranda. He used to say that there was more philosophy in a good detective story than in all the issues of philosophic journals.
The Americans plead for the philosophers' cooperation. The action of the play centers on the struggle between Wittgenstein and Goodson about whether to aid or to hinder the intruders. The conflict between the two men is handled in a realistic manner. The intruders appear as exaggerated cliches of the imagination who act out the fears, prejudices, and desires of the philosophers.
Wittgenstein has spent his life attempting to understand the meaning of "language." He is intrigued by the intruders and influenced by his discovery of the most basic concepts of American "language": money, violence, greed, sexuality. In their absurd and violent acts, he decides, these Americans are speaking. Bodies and image were as important in W's thought as ideas -- he was not an "abstract" thinker. Action is "language." He agrees to cooperate. Goodson, labels the intruders common thieves. His common sense theory of reality will not admit such wild apparitions into the realm of truth. He keeps trying to escape and to turn the Americans over to the police. Eventually, he is injured. The attack on Goodson tests Wittgenstein's theories against his affections.
Causes Bill Broder Supports
Amnesty International, AFSC, Heifer International, Impact Fund, Ploughshares,