2/17/21: Peggy Sue Got Married (1986) — Things Change, What’s Next? #poetry

2/17/21: Peggy Sue Got Married (1986) — Things Change, What’s Next? #poetry

Francis Ford Coppola did a sequel to his pal George Lucas’ American Graffiti

From high school graduation to the high school reunion

and time travel

to the past

Peggy Sue Got Married ,

the past


even for the bitter

or confused,

is in Technicolor

with a Golden Oldie Soundtrack

written as a literary short story in the idiom of a sitcom

With a future All -Star cast

Coppola doesn’t have a directorial style

He creates a style to match his material

Coppola made The Godfather about an alien family blocked from full participation in the American Dream

That movie is darkly lit, tragic and operatic

Peggy Sue is about people who feel entitled to all this country has to offer and get disappointed

a serious story told in a light-hearted way

The Godfather is Italian – American

Peggy Sue Got Married is just American

The American myth that even us outsiders claim in some part of our soul

The pain of the Corleone family was that they were told not dream that dream

So they murdered and stole for the right

to be disappointed

The American Dream never works out for anyone

(it also always works out)

Because the dream is a young person’s dream

and we get old and die

The Chicago Tribune says that the Second City was sold recently for $50 million

To a video game manufacturer

Video games?

Second City has done shows on cruise ships in recent years

Cruise ships?

When I was an actor at Second City

in the 1980s

around the time of Peggy Sue Got Married

I thought I was part of the most influential theater of the 20th Century

A revolution in acting and writing

Bringing art to popular culture

It was thrilling

I thought my mentors were the greatest American artists of the 20th Century

and I was doing something brilliant and meaningful

None of it was true

except the dream

art was part of the chaotic mess that was Second City

Art, the minority owner who was eventually bought out

Commerce muddied every Second City palette

The shows weren’t that good

They were steps toward video games and cruise ships

not Eugene O’Neill

Second City was art in the beginning

And those founders who did the art were still around

But they were semi – retired

The real thing was in their workshops

time travel

not in the present performances

that were compromised by the crass audiences and agents and TV casting directors and advertising executives

who wanted sales technique on the stage where I pursued art

It was a ridiculous mistake on my part

a romantic, young, innocent deluded mistake

The right heart at the wrong place and time …

Oddly, I feel no regret

Life is lived through a strainer

the runoff and detritus disappear down the drain

The gold remains.

The Tribune article also mentions that the teachers in Second City’s Training Centers are going to unionize

The American Association of Comedy Instructors

A Union

for that shit

those awful classes

that have nothing to do with the workshops with the founding artists of my dreamy memory

those present day classes are playing party games on a cruise ship

Eugene O”Neill?

Are you kidding?

Charades and shuffle board is more like it.

The current Second City has nothing to do with me

strained and down my drain.

I drift away from my fellow Second City alumni who post photos on Facebook from decades -old shows that they were in at Second City

All that nostalgia

Unprocessed dreams?


or maybe the other alums never had my dream

that’s closer to the truth, I reckon.

A mystery of life is our fate to spend at least some time with people with whom we don’t belong

We belong where we don’t belong

No one understands a country better than a foreigner.

The alumni hold onto one dream or another

or just don’t want to think about it at all

and attach their dream or indifference to the corpse of Second City

the alumni delude themselves

They tell themselves they are doing the Dream

or having an easy good time

while they play video games on a cruise ship

I guess it’s OK if all you want out of time is a pleasant day

A few want something more

but the others get in their way

Social clubs are fine

but they’re not for me.

I called myself an improvisor when I was at Second City and for years after

A large part of my identity was “improvisor”

Not any more

I now identify as “writer”

Change is an assembly of gears

the individual soul and the world mesh

People and things are never fully revealed

until their obituary is written.

Second City’s obituary is done

On the same day that part of my past is processed

Where does the dream go now?

What’s next?

Peggy Sue Got Married is about a woman who processes her past

The real person is revealed in youthful innocence

Outer frustration and regret brings her inner reality

to life

A PBS producer, a nice guy

told me somewhere in the 1980s that I was

“too sincere to be an actor”

That memory hurts at first and then is liberating

when I recall it in this context

Peggy Sue gives insight similar to that of the PBS producer to the other lead characters in her story

as she struggles to understand herself,

Just like writers do.

Peggy Sue is a story of a conscious mind coaxing the unconscious mind into the waking day

Our lives are dream interpretations

We “dream the future” as Peggy Sue says

She mines the past to retrieve what has value

Our lives have a constant

That never dies

What is real is our love

What is real is our aspiration

when things don’t work out

when our best efforts fall short

when we are betrayed

by ourselves

and others

when we got it all wrong

naively seeing greatness in something mediocre

the constant remains

We are the constant

the false steps and starts are just process

you are just working things out

It is the poetry in your heart that is your life story

not the whorehouses that you thought were Cinderella’s Ball

What’s next is what always was

you were right all along

Life is a process of learning how to make yourself congruent with the specific place in the world where you are meant to be

That’s home

and that’s

What’s Next.

Copyright 2021 Richard Thomas

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