Meta Musil

Joseph J. Musil's theater comes from someplace beyond

Of course, the common complaint is that we have too much entertainment these days, that we are distracted by it to the point of ignorance of what we really need to know. Musil counters that our entertainment is too much like our daily lives to serve its proper function—and he centers his argument in the modern movie house.

"These aren't palaces of entertainment—they are stark rooms with the equivalent of giant television sets run by candy merchants who show films to get you to buy their candy," Musil says disgustedly. "They prove it with their lack of romance and showmanship. They prove it with the millions of ads they bombard you with. There's no love."

Love?

"That's the whole thing about entertainment," Musil says. "These are energy points that connect to deep, deep things inside us, things that please us, things that maybe bring a tear to our eye. These are things that most people don't realize they really need until they get to be adults. As children, we accepted everything, so it was easy. As adults, we have to process it a little more—maybe give ourselves permission or maybe just relax enough to react to the child that is still inside us. Through this true kind of showmanship, translated through this truly fantastic kind of architecture, we can often find the child in us again."

Sometimes, while somebody is strolling through the Salon of the Theaters, Musil gets the chance to witness their reconnection.

"People will stop on their way out and tell me, 'It's been so long since I've felt this way,' and they'll seem almost worried by their happy, childlike feelings," Musil recounts. "And I'll just tell them, 'It's okay. That's how you should feel when you go to church.'"

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