It was January 2005. The production was As You Like It, in the Harvey Theater of the Brooklyn Academy of Music. There were seats on the stage, literally on the boards themselves, just feet from actors. That’s where I sat, on a small cushion, surrounded by a bunch of other 20-somethings who could also only afford the $25 it cost to sit there.
Directed by Sir Peter Hall and starring his daughter Rebecca, this production had created quite a buzz around the NYC theatre scene and – being my favorite Shakespearean comedy – there I sat, legs crossed, like a child in kindergarten waiting to hear “goose” after being tapped on the head.
The production started and I was taken to places I had never gone before. I was swept away, ravished by the colors and textures and nuance in each moment. I fell madly in love with Rebecca Hall, glaring into her eyes as if this wasn’t an audience member/actor thing but two young people at opposite ends of a crowded bar, never to speak but never needing to.
When the play ended, I walked out out onto Atlantic Avenue and it was snowing. Heavy, too. I skipped through it. I frolicked. I danced between snowflakes because that’s what theatre can do to those willing to succumb.
Those experiences are few and far between, however. True rarities. They are like the Bears games you tell stories about for years to come. “They are who we thought they were”. Mike Brown interception returns in overtime. 46-10.
I’m not asking for the 2020 Chicago Bears to provide one of these experiences. I don’t demand that from any piece of theatre, either. I ask that plays be entertaining. I ask that plays be interesting. But more than anything else, I ask that plays NOT be boring. Boring is the cardinal sin of any piece of art. Bad I can forgive if the badness is achieved in an attempt to do something unique. Boring is unforgivable.
And the 2020 Chicago Bears are the most boring fucking football team of my lifetime. I know exactly what I’m going to see before every single game and they don’t even slightly deviate from those expectations. They are a terrific defense. They are solid on specials. And they are the worst offense in the entirety of the NFL, Jets excluded.
And folks, I know this may be sacrilegious around here, but playing good defense isn’t all that interesting when you know the offense won’t capitalize on it. If you told me the Bears were going to be 5-5 at their bye, I would much rather they be playing a bunch of 34-31 games than forcing us to sit through these tedious slogs. This experience is supposed to be entertaining. Sports are supposed to be fun to watch. What in the hell has been fun about most of this Bears season? Even the late comebacks early in the year were not a fun experience. They were long, boring plays with interesting endings. “It ended well, but did it need to be four hours?” I might have said over a few pints at Jimmy’s Corner.
It is time for this organization to reallocate their resources commensurate with the modern game. Err on the side of scoring more than the other guys, instead of hoping you can keep the other guys from scoring too much.
More to the point, it is time for this organization to entertain us again. I’m not asking the Chicago Bears to create an experience that sends me skipping through the Brooklyn snow weekly. But I’d settle for chuckling in the Queens rain. Bring back interesting. Bring back entertaining. Bring back fun.