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Call Me Trim Tab

On the principle that all work and no plays makes Em a dull girl--and because avventura1234 gets free tickets--I attended the theatre last night.

The play was R. Buckminster Fuller: The History (and Mystery) of the Universe.

It's a one-man show, Buckminster Fuller's life and ideas in the form of a long reminiscence-slash-lecture by Bucky at the end of his life. So the fact that it was fabulous is darn near astonishing.

The actor delivers two hours of monologue, some of it almost incomprehensibly arcane, with the aid of visual and sound effects, and a few simple props (a gramophone, a balloon, white butcher paper and markers, and one of these, only human-size:)

It's surprisingly moving. Bucky was a perpetual ten year old in lots of ways, filled with wonder and hope. What he saw was so obvious to him and so threatening to others that I walked out at intermission saying, "It's a wonder they let him live as long as did." (You know, whoever "they" are.)

I'm not sure which of the ten-thousand brilliant ideas presented in the play I came away with most vividly. Perhaps it was the Trim Tab part:

Something hit me very hard once, thinking about what one little man could do. Think of a rudder. The whole ship goes by and then comes the rudder. And there's a tiny thing at the edge of the rudder called a trim tab.

Just moving the little trim tab builds a low pressure that pulls the rudder around. Takes almost no effort at all. So I said that the little individual can be a trim tab. Society thinks it's going right by you, that it's left you altogether. But if you're doing dynamic things mentally, the fact is that you can just put your foot out like that and the whole big ship of state is going to go.

So I said, call me Trim Tab.



( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 30th, 2008 07:15 am (UTC)
Oooh, that sounds like something I'd like to see. And the Trim Tab thing is inspiring.

Last year we went to see a play about the mathematician, Srinivasa Ramanujan. I've been looking for my write up on LJ, but maybe it only happened in my head. The play had been hastily adapted to fit the space and was consequently a little ragged, but it was certainly interesting and subsequently lead to my reading Hardy's A Mathematician's Apology.
Oct. 30th, 2008 05:06 pm (UTC)
Wow! That sounds fantastic! I'm pretty new to live theatre, and it's amazing to me that a fascinating play can be made of such arcane material.

I was very involved in astrology for a long time, and for that reason I know that Ramanujan has an asteroid named after him. Weird, the little connections.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )



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