Sorry, Long Rumba

Well, this isn’t exactly the stuff of Hollywood melodrama; but being cut off from the web for weeks—and hairs—on end is likely to have anyone channelling the none too blithe spirit of Mrs. Elbert Stevenson, the telecommunications-challenged anti-heroine of Lucille Fletcher’s “Sorry, Wrong Number.” I realize that “Sorry, No Broadband,” doesn’t quite have the same ring to it; nor does it sound right to be giving you the whole song and dance about it all whenever I do get a chance to vent publicly (that is, while not at home).

Still, the thought of getting one’s dial-uppance after years of making out like a broadbandit is just about as comforting as having the aforementioned First Lady of Suspense shriek bloody murder in your ears. These days, to be sure, Mrs. Stevenson would meet her well-timed end trying to make herself understood at some call center in India. Otherwise, this outcry from the play seems to fit our latest phone bill:

“[. . .] it’s positively driving me crazy. I’ve never seen such inefficient, miserable service.”

Pardon me for turning broadcastellan into an agony column. You see, we were given to understand that repairs of our phone line, apparently requiring the digging up of precious tarmac, would be put on hold so as not to disrupt local traffic . . . until September. I never guessed that my wanting to stay home at the computer would be deemed bad for tourism. To our relief, the phone started ringing again a few days ago; but the world wide web was still being spun without us.

So, I did not get to tell you about the production of West Side Story now playing at the local Arts Centre; or the complaints launched anonymously by a squeamish audience member voicing concerns about a simulated rape scene; or how the scene was subsequently changed so as not to offend, let alone harm the impressionables who should never be left with the impression that any show could go on without them in mind.

Apparently, West Side Story, written by former radio dramatist Arthur Laurents, is now a musical about infantile delinquents. Ours are not Happy Days for social realism. As in the age of the great radio theatricals, censorship is often nothing more than the arrogance of the few speaking up to silence what is quietly appreciated by the many. The world, it seems, is full of meddlesome Mrs. (and Mr.) Stevensons, in the spirit of providing vicarious relief through an imaginary throttling of whom on behalf of us, their long-suffering contemporaries, the revenge fantasy of “Sorry, Wrong Number” was conceived.

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