BRASS Season Three: A World Without Heroes?

As we prepare to launch our Third Season, some authorial reflections.

While there is much debate about whether Art can ever truly change the World, it’s pretty much a sure thing that the World changes Art. The socio-political-economic-historic-demographic-logistics of it all bangs about in everyone’s head, and that includes artists, so our fictions and other creations can’t help reflecting this.

We live in an extraordinary time, if we extend the definition of “extraordinary” to “terrifying,” “exhausting” and “deeply unsettling.” So it shouldn’t be a surprise that Season Three of BRASS takes a somewhat dark turn as we shift our focus to the shadowy world of espionage and political manipulation. It’s clear to anyone who watches the news–or unlike most of Congress, reads the Mueller report–that this is the era we live in, after all.

Our current age is one where all but the strongest social conscience seems caught in chains of passivity, where the most likely action of rebellion is enraged invective flung at the evening’s viewing of the news. Yeats’ lines from “The Second Coming,” “The best lack all conviction, while the worst/Are full of passionate intensity,” seems tailor-made for a time sorely lacking in heroes, let alone those with principled character.

I can certainly understand if any of our listeners would rather that we keep the world of BRASS completely separate from current events, and let it remain thrilling, cheeky and optimistic–a high-flying adventure series that doesn’t take itself too seriously. The darker the world gets, the more we crave such stories, of brighter times and pleasant people, as an escape from our contemporary concerns.

But while we can’t say whether Art can change the World, the World does change. And as our world has taken on a darker and more difficult complexion, so does the 1885 that isn’t like the one in our history books. This Season, we begin with a memorial service for some heroes–and some sinister developments that result.


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