Words are cheap but meaningful; sorry means change

Saying “I am sorry” has always come easy to me. Words are my transportation and I have made a living at this form of transport for a long time.

I jokingly answer the question: “What do you do for a living?” with this answer: “I am a hedonist by nature and liar by vocation.” Glib talk, I assure you. Nothing more. But it is more. Words do matter.

As do apologies. My boss recently showed me how important it is to bring forth the apology because it forces the apologist into action. For if no action follows the apology than it is shallow and empty, much like an annoying leaf swirling around your feet as you walk. It means nothing, but it is really annoying.

It also inspired me to re-examine my little world. My little words. My little apology.

So, here’s the deal: I recently wrote a column about a play, “Moby Dick Rehearsed,” my family put on at their theater, The Whitmore Eclectic. I attended opening night and later was to write a column about the experience. In that column I made disparaging comments about actors having to project on stage. I won’t repeat the words because I was being glib and insensitive. I don’t want to repeat the same mistake because words do matter.

Furthermore, I was wrong to have written it. I was trying to be funny, witty and cute. I was neither. I was a bore. I am sorry for using words that denigrated such hard work, such enormous talent and such a significant addition to the theater in Los Angeles.

I stated in the column that I was not much of a theater-goer and that certainly is true. I don’t understand it most of the time and get antsy near the end because of sitting in the same place. I am little, but wound awful tight.  I am more drawn toward Michael Bay’s “Transformer’s” movies, except this last one stunk. Really bad. I mean, you can’t get anymore superficial than me and this was a real piece of nonsense. There was no surface at all.

The Whitmore Eclectic was started by my dad’s grandkids – my dad was the late-actor James Whitmore – because they loved him and the art he left behind. They wanted to continue that creative line – and they have, by all means, they have.

There is no money, really, to put these plays on. The group does it for fun and for free, and much sweat equity. And it is wonderful to watch. Their next play this season is “Betrayed” by George Packer, and it sounds like a doozy. Here is a quick synopsis that can be found on the theater’s home page, http://www.Whitmoreeclectic.com:

Three young Iraqis go to work for the occupying American forces in Baghdad after the overthrow in Saddam. They come to find that some of their Iraqi neighbors consider them traitors because they work for the Americans. They also find that some of their American employers regard them with hostility and contempt. Ultimately, the trio find that their lives are in deadly danger, and their pleas to their American bosses for greater security are being ignored. The threat of sudden, violent death is palpable. They wanted to assist the forces of freedom. What will happen to them now?

Go see the play to find out. Theater. Storytelling. Acting. Artistry. It is alive and well at the Whitmore Eclectic theater. Go. Get tickets. Do it. Move. Now.

One last note, then I’ll shut up – promise!

As soon as the Moby Dick play was finished, my older brother Jim, who played Captain Ahab – with an energy and zeal unmatched in most circles I find myself in – came bounding out from back stage. His face was radiant; smiling is far too temperate a word to describe his facial explication. His face reflected the majesty of the sun at its fullest glow. The power from his expression could have kept the lights burning bright in Los Angeles for months, maybe longer.

I am a stranger to happiness. Not these folks. They are bedfellows. One and all. You can take that to the bank. On second thought, take yourself to the Whitmore Eclectic Theater at 520 N. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles, CA  90036, instead. Much better than the bank.


About stevewhitmore

Former award-winning newspaperman and broadcast journalist, both radio and TV, spanning three decades. Army-trained paralegal, court bailiff and prosecutor's lead investigator for the 8th Infantry Division's Judge Advocate General's Corp., Mainz, Germany. 1973-1975.
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