This past Friday, I had the great pleasure of seeing ‘Next Generation,’ an extraordinary modern ballet production put on by the Boston Ballet at the Wang Theater. When I go to the theater or shows, I often flip through the Playbill during intermissions, reading about other performing arts productions coming to the area. The advertisements that are displayed are always somewhat predictable: restaurants and hotels in the area…financial companies…local publications…luxury consumer products. I was a bit thrown off, however, when I saw ‘Changing the Face of Boston,’ smack across from the ‘Next Generation’ program. As the headline implies, it was advertising changing the face of Boston through cosmetic surgery at the Facial and Cosmetic Surgery Center of the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.
Come on people! Seriously? Here I was, sitting at the ballet, enjoying the beautiful music, admiring a display of true beauty, natural talent and form and witnessing some of the best choreography I have ever seen…and bam, I was being solicited to ‘change my face.’
I like my face…I like a lot of people’s faces…and moreover, I LOVE the face of Boston. I don’t know, call me crazy, but I was somewhat struck by the irony of this advertisement. It seemed so misplaced to me. Natural beauty…plastic surgery. Beautiful Wang theater…face lift. Phenomenal grace and talent…botox injections. Yeah, I guess I get it…no, wait…I don’t.
I have to wonder what the Playbill sales department’s process is, if they have one, when they accept and place ads into their Playbills. Do they think about the relativity or is it all about the bucks? Sure, people who go to the ballet may possibly have enough money to consider cosmetic surgery and as a result, it is a great ad to place; but what does it have to do with culture, arts and entertainment?
Personally, I go to the ballet, the opera, and the symphony to escape from the every day craziness of society…to immerse myself in a moving experience…to be touched by something new and beautiful…to enjoy the arts and culture. Can’t we just appreciate the beauty of performance without having to be reminded that we, ourselves may be imperfect? Can’t we just sit, relax and enjoy something without having to think about how we don’t stack up to some superficial standard?
I hope that Boston doesn’t get a facelift…I think it is perfect the way it is…just like you and I.