Matt Margo's Reviews > Text As Entertainment

Text As Entertainment by Scott Macleod
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's review
May 11, 10

bookshelves: five-star, avant-garde, drama, experimental, fiction, surrealism
Read in May, 2010

Fact: Most artists have posses. Salvador Dalí had Man Ray and Brassaï, among others. Andy Warhol had Edie Sedgwick and Freddie Herko, among others. Presently, Scott MacLeod has Peter Ganick, Andrew Topel, Jukka-Pekka Kervinen, Sheila E. Murphy, and Jim Leftwich, among others... So no one would suspect a man who now associates himself with such syntax-butchers and visual poets of the literary world to ever have hit the streets with his primarily abstract, experimental mindset of creation, right? Well, it just so happens that theater and performance art greatly compose MacLeod's past(, present, and future) as a creative entity, and "Text As Entertainment" is the proof.

Cataloging numerous selected scripts and outlines from 1982 to 2008, this book serves partly as the personal history behind one of America's most underrated playwrights and performers, and partly as a rich archive of the person's body of work. Traces of influence from Beckett and the Theater of the Absurd are easily recognizable throughout, each individual play or performance piece expressing a similar fusion of tragedy and hilarity in its own unique scattering of light and essence, and always with little to no explanation. My own observation is that several of these scripts contain tales of deterioration and denouement: "The Drunken Jungle" follows three people as they detach from sanity in a devouring setting fit for Joseph Conrad. "Necromancy" may be the only fictional take on patriarchy that I haven't found somehow tired, but dangerously fresh instead. A personal favorite without any doubt would be "Road Kill," a powerfully nihilistic, transgressive crusade against the death of sexuality that had come with the AIDS crisis. Also contained within this anthology is one of the most perfect lines I may ever read: "Without Scheherazade, James Joyce and Stephen King would be clerks in the livestock department."

Strangely enough, "Text As Entertainment" is a self-published collection, though it certainly carries enough merit to be more officially distributed. Nonetheless, there are the occasional typos that inevitably result from self-editing, so if you are unlike myself and you cannot handle even the most mild spelling error, I...encourage you to read MacLeod's scripts and commentaries anyway. I strongly hope that a second anthology will be published in the future, for MacLeod still in fact has plenty of pieces eligible for archiving, such as the immensely sad "A Violin in this Dark Shed."

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