The November 17th 1980 issue of the New Yorker magazine contained a single essay: George W. S. Trow’s Within the Context of No-Context. That was where and when I first discovered Trow’s keen study describing how the media had come to dominate and distort our experience of reality. Reading my borrowed copy (no way as an actor ‘at liberty’ could I afford the New Yorker in 1980), the sparse paragraphs entranced and edified me. My amazement and admiration at WTCONC placed me in excellent company. Novelist John Irving wrote that the essay was “essential reading for anyone interested in the demise, the terminal silliness, of our culture.” Laurie Anderson included it in her Top 10 Books to take to a desert island because it was “hilarious and dangerous”. Ariel Levy praised how “Stylistically, it was remarkable, a hypnotic procession of aphorisms…” Lorne Michaels of Saturday Night Live said, “Trow has it right about everything.”
And writer after writer has continued over the years to note its power and prescience. Like them, I believe more people should read (and reread) and enjoy Trow’s work. And thus Knowledge Workings Theater is offering three FREE live readings of an abridged version of WTCONC; running time is about 75 minutes, which is shorter than any Judd Apatow movie but longer than most Lesley Stahl interviews.
You can buy the full essay in book form here from Grove Atlantic, which includes a sparkling introduction by the late author.
Subscribe to the New Yorker and read it in the original version via their archives.
But why not let our voices reading WTCONC take you to the beauty and grace of Within the Context of No-Context? And did I mention that our limited seating Zoom reading by John Clay , Quanda Johnson , Meghan Cox , and Aaron Long is free? Scroll UP to get your link for one of these live readings on November12th, 13th, or 14th
These immensely talented actors honor and emphasize how vital and profound the words Trow wrote four decades ago remain today. I hope that you will join us. Knowledge Workings in our summer Zoom production of Grudges stressed the need to #maketheaterlive
Please donate to our GoFundMe effort. We will split all monies donated for WTCONC equally and exclusively amongst our four extraordinarily talented readers: Meghan Cox, Quanda Johnson, Aaron Long, & John Clay. Just click here to donate whether $1, $10, or whatever seems right for you.
And do feel free to forward this message to anyone else interested in seeing actors make text come alive.
Good Luck & Good Health — and stay tuned for a free Zoom production of our new screwball comedy, Keeping Right, coming this December.
Just click below at the LIVE reading of your choice to receive a return email with your Zoom link to Within The Context of No Context (WTCONC):
To attend the live Zoom reading on:
(Running time = 75 minutes; all times EDT)
Admission to any of the three performances of this reading is free because it is more important than ever for us to consider the insights that George WS Trow offered forty years ago.
However, during this time of great crisis for those in the world of theater, we invite you to donate to our GoFundMe effort. All monies donated will be split equally and exclusively amongst our four extraordinarily talented readers all alums of the late Wynn Handman’s classes: Meghan Cox, Quanda Johnson, Aaron Long, & John Clay. Just click here to donate whether $1, $10, or whatever seems right for you.