Thursday, May 16, 2013

Theatre quote of the day for Thursday, May 16, 2013

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“Gus is the Cat at the Theatre Door.
His name, as I ought to have told you before,
Is really Asparagus. That's such a fuss
To pronounce, that we usually call him just Gus.
His coat's very shabby, he's thin as a rake,
And he suffers from palsy that makes his paw shake.
Yet he was, in his youth, quite the smartest of Cats —
But no longer a terror to mice or to rats.
For he isn't the Cat that he was in his prime;
Though his name was quite famous, he says, in his time.
And whenever he joins his friends at their club
(which takes place at the back of the neighbouring pub)
He loves to regale them, if someone else pays,
With anecdotes drawn from his palmiest days.
For he once was a Star of the highest degree”
― T.S. Eliot, Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats

More and more these days, I find myself thinking of Gus and identifying with his nostalgia. I have a more realistic appraisal of my illustrious performing arts past, of course, but Eliot hits on something universal here: our tendency to selectively edit our past and hold on to the parts that are, in retrospect, the most pleasant. I think most humans would go quite mad if they didn't do that, really. The important thing is to be aware that you're doing it.

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