Marathon

I have been on something of a theater marathon lately.  Six days in a row, I went to readings or shows which included War Horse, Tommy Smith’s Fire Men, Don Nguyen’s Red Flamboyant as part of Ma-Yi’s Labfest and Vampire Cowboys’ The Inexplicable Redemption of Agent G.  Inspiring.  Then, I got in a car with part of the Ma-Yi Writers Lab and drove 12 1/2 hours to Louisville to see Jordan Harrison’s Maple and Vine and A. Rey Pamatmat’s Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them.  Maple made me think.  Edith made me cry.

The thing about seeing theater this good, a collection of theater this varied, is that it really gets you to thinking about what keeps you in a seat.  What moves you.  What sticks to you like cobwebs for days after you’ve seen something.

I have been trying not to think about this as I hammer away at the rough hewn Fast Company and try to smooth its edges (or keep it jagged in just the right places) and shine it just enough for our First Light reading next Tuesday.  The thing keeps changing on me.  And it’s pushing my capacity.  I’m having to use everything I think I know, and it still might not be enough.  We’ll see.  It’s finally gotten fun to be writing it, so that is a good thing.  Con men.  Magic.  Basketball.  It’s good to have fun.  It’s good to be scared.  Right?

It’s almost new year’s

Somehow, I managed to take the whole fall off and not even realize it.  I guess I was distracted.  Or overly focused on what was in front of me.  Or something.

Looking forward to 2011.  There is a lot to be grateful for and I am both curious about and hopeful for what’s on the horizon. 

When the skies dumped two feet of snow on a grumpy city, something possibly transformative happened.  People had to stay put at home with loved ones.  Or play in the snow.  Or stay put with loved ones in another city.  While the struggle to get home is mighty, I have had more smiles flashed at me,  had more of those random five line dialogues passing someone on the street (the sidewalk ballets) than in a long time.  I had two hour-long conversations with strangers this week.  Just sitting there, minding my own business, eating my french fries, and then a sidelong glance, and the ever-so-tentative initial attempts at conversation.  With a retired Scottish lady I-banker and a former pro-footbal player. 

I hope that these are the kind of collisions that continue to come.  That this snow storm isn’t the only deus ex machina of coming times.   We need people to be so disarmed by, oh, say,  the forces of nature that all the walls come down.  They need to express delight, confusion, sadness to someone.  And so they reach out to you and your world gets a little bit bigger.  And you learn a little bit more.  And you’re connected for a second.

Those of you who live where there are no seasons, I feel bad for you.  Maybe that’s why Paul Thomas Anderson made it frogs for the Valley.  May you have frogs, then.

Family

Two things happen when family comes to visit. 

1.  I eat too much. 

My sister, Uncle Mike and Auntie Robyn came to visit this week.  Cathie  likes food, Mike is a chef and Robyn is a nutritionist.  Everyone likes food.  So that meant stops at Lil’ Frankie’s, Keste, Dirt Candy, Cafe Condessa, Apizz, Ma Peche and Anissa.  I have a refrigerator full of fancy leftovers but I think I need to drink nothing but green juice for a week.  But eating with them, it’s not just about the food.  It’s about the company.  The time to catch up and talk after being apart for so long (they all live in Honolulu).  A little bit of waxing poetic.  When you are a theater artist or generally busy NY’er, it means you are usually eating pizza while you walk or powering down an egg sandwich in 5 minutes on the subway.  It’s eating for survival.  And there’s no one to talk to while you’re stuffing your face.  3 hour meal?  Never.

2. I ask myself why I have planted myself in a city that is 5-10,000 miles away from all my family. 

Why?  Why can’t I be in LA or Honolulu where the climate is milder, my people are around and life is a little more gentle. 

Why am I here?  Theater.  Did you say Theater?  What are you doing?  Trying to chase a green unicorn down a rabbit hole?  Make Theater?  That’s why you’re here?

Well, that’s a lot to walk away from.  Easier life, family, temperate weather. 

So, as I said my goodbyes to all of them and hopped the subway towards my little apartment, I sat there listening to the hums/screeches/bumps of the train, thinking, “Better make some theater, then.  Better make it damned fine.”