Flaws and All

"I wasn't altogether satisfied by Rock 'n' Roll, but I wouldn't have missed it for the world."

So said the Wall Street Journal's drama critic in his November 6 review of Tom Stoppard's new work that played to rave reviews in London and recently opened at NYC's Lincoln Center Theater. I'm seeing the show in December and anticipate reacting somewhat the same. It is after all a 3-hour work about rock music as a symbol for personal and political freedom over a 20-year period in Eastern Europe, a tad more challenging than Cats, eh?

While a perfect show or product is always great, we're willing to settle for something a bit shy of that if it is linked to a grand ambition. When we can see a performer, a leader, a company, or a project stretching for something great, trying for something remarkable, straining against the inertia of blandness, we'll cut a reasonable amount of slack.

I, for one, would welcome more of my professional organizations offering annual meetings that—while not wholly satisfying—are so inspirational and aspirational in what they attempt that I wouldn't miss them for anything.

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