The Winter Street
The winter street speaks...
If you stand still enough to hear it.
The wan Seattle sun sets into
a frigid January night -
no one stays outside long.
Get off the bus, walk briskly those two blocks home.
Park the car, sprint to the door.
The dog gets a quick walk -
No lingering trip around the lake tonight.
But the winter street is out and about.
Icy lamps casting frozen diamonds in the grass
Telling tales of hidden treasure, if you listen hard enough.
Skeletal trees make brittle arches towards the sidewalk
And cars, like silent sentinels growing a moss of frost.
The winter street offers secrets
Inviting any who catch its whispers
To step into this quiet mystery of freezing dark.
It is really perverse that something that is bringing me such joy daily, that I will miss tremendously when it's over is also paradoxically giving me pause. I'm speaking, of course, of my former baby, the Double (XX) Fest.
I'm acting in three short plays for the festival, and I love them ALL. Wonderful to be able to dig into each one without much of a distraction. In certain respects, I'm blowing myself away as an actor, particularly in the fact that I'm seemingly able to
"go there" multiple times in succession, and get there each time, making new discoveries along the way. I'm starting to really notice my weird actor habits...don't know if I'm able to correct them, really, but at least I'm noticing them. And starting to notice that I'm a little bit lazy, and could totally bust out of that, and sometimes DO.
First, The Bridge (Kate McCamy), directed by Glynis Mitchell, costarring Pearl Klein. Ultimately, this character is probably the closest to who I am though still quite removed as a materialistic, Wall Street executive who's just lost her job. She's about to commit suicide by jumping off the Brooklyn bridge, when God, possessing the body of a homeless woman, stops her. It's quite existential, and I am surprised each time we run it that it hits me so hard each time. Ha ha, and it certainly isn't without its parallels to my own life, although ironically, she talks about having gone to art school and having wanted to be an artist. Funny for me, since I chose that path for myself, and yet, you still find yourself with heartless bosses who'll throw you under the bus. That is not limited to Wall Street NOR to finance.
Second, The Cleaners (Lindsay Joy Murphy) directed by Lenore Bensinger; costarring Curtis Eastwood. I get to don a very large, white plastic HazMat suit, which in and of itself is totally comedy GOLD. After putting it on, I really don't have to work very hard, in terms of the funny. The suit just brings it. All I have to do is show up and remember my lines. Had so much fun last night at rehearsal - collapsed into helpless giggles last night, when we first started working with the suit. The fun comes in that my scene partner is hitting on me the whole time I am cleaning brain in this totally unsexy, shapeless costume. It's supposed to kinda turn his character (Jerry) on even more than my character (Rita) already does with her firecracker, ballbuster personality. And then there's this knee-buckling kiss, also in The Suit (which I think has become the 4th character in the show, behind the Dead Guy we're cleaning up). Physical intimacy onstage is always so bizarre, especially at first. We're comfortable with it now, but it was totally awkward at first. Boundaries are always interesting, and of course the niggling thoughts about *actual* significant others and how they're potentially going to deal with it. I am lucky that Ian and I haven't had any issues with this so far, and he's seen me smooch plenty of other boys onstage at this point!
Which brings me to the third play, It's Not Really Suicide, Is It? (Persephone Vandegrift) directed by Julianne Christie, costarring Michael Mitchell(John) and Chris Allen(Brian). There's another smooch in this one, though it was never quite as awkward to work into as the former...but it's also not as intimate a circumstance, I suppose. My character (Nicole) is grieving her boyfriend, Brian an Iraq war vet, who just committed suicide. They are at his wake, and his ghost has appeared to his brother, John, but Nicole can't see him. Nicole is at that messed up burnt-out matchstick place where you've done all your crying and you're just spent and can't cry anymore...and the weird emotions that lie just beyond that. She kisses John, because she knows he loves her, because she's grasping at any straw she can to make herself feel okay again. Boy was it ever interesting to muster that end-of-road place for THREE RUNS tonight. I'm glad I have the whole first part of the play where it's just the two of them talking, to immerse myself in those circumstances. By the time I come out for my entrance, I have to be done bawling. I managed to do it each time tonight, but boy am I exhausted. Impressed with myself, I must say, but exhausted.
So, next week, presenting the first two to audiences, and the week beyond, the third. We'll see if performance anxiety comes by, or if I manage to ground myself enough to keep it mostly at bay...or maybe even work with it. Usually, if I can manage to stay present, it's not an issue. We shall see. I think all three of these plays are some of the best work I've ever done. And it's a pity I feel so ambivalent about recommending Double (XX) Fest 2.0 to people, which is entirely to do with not wanting Stone Soup Theatre and the woman at its helm to make any more money off my talents. It's hard for me to get beyond that.
Come and see it if you wish - it will be the last show I ever do with Stone Soup.
Day to day thoughts, rants and mental detritus.