Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I made this.

Nuts and bolts first: It was Dog & Pony's God's Ear and The Factory's Mop Top Festival plus watching/working box at Brodie. This Thursday is Profiles' The Wonderful World Of Dissocia and Friday is New Leaf's The Long Count. Saturday morning I'm flying out to Iowa to hang out for a week and then play Co-Best Man for my little brother's wedding on May 9.

My. Little. Brother's. Wedding. I've been utterly single for over 2 1/2 of my 3 1/2 years in Chicago -- handing over the rings to my 21 year old brother is gonna be one of the weirdest feelings of my life. But I'm proud and very happy for him and excited to spend time at home -- so don't be surprised if this place is dead until I get back on May 11.


Jenny Schwartz's God's Ear is one of those plays that is written so well, so insightfully and incisively, so precise that it just makes you want to go home and write yourself. I've been neglecting those creative muscles recently in favor of the acting and directing sort, and while I will continue to flex the acting (I will be playing Merlie Ryan in Signal's The Ballad Of The Sad Cafe opening in August) and the directing (I hope to announce official dates in early 2010 for Part One of The Nine before the end of May -- as soon as the ink is dry on a space), I think it may be time to pick the writing back up.

I don't really write in draft form. While I may go back and change a few sentences or word order for the flow of the piece at any given time, once I write something down, the structure is pretty much set. There is the rare exception, but for the most part my first drafts are near indistinguishable from my final drafts. (I believe Jen wrote something long ago about having a similar technique.) This of course means I have a bajillion half finished projects sitting around at any given time. It also means I can easily pick up those projects at any given time if I remain pleased with them. And remaining pleased with your work months, even years, after you've written it is a great feeling.

I've been going over old projects the last couple days and have found a number that I need to decide between in terms of buckling down and plugging away. There's BlueGrass, an experiment in Boolean Theatre that will be a later part of The Nine; Quiet Ground, my entry for last year's NaPlWriMo that didn't get far within the given timeframe; Terron: A Protagonist, a 26-part semi-Oulipian novella; and Rapture, an I don't know what that lives within my obsession with, well, The Rapture. And I'm going see if I can't finish at least one of these by the time Ballad opens. Yay, goals!

In the meantime, here's a little something I wrote almost three years ago for a one-night ten minute play festival. I still think it holds water. It's called The Mystique.

1: There hasn't been a moon like this in ages.

2: You're crazy; the moon's always been there.


3: They say that it's even there during the day.


3: We just can't see it.


3: Because of the sun.


1: But it's never this bright. That's what I meant: The moon hasn't been this bright in ages.

3: Also because of the sun.

1: Has the sun changed?

2: No, the sun's always been there, too.

3: It is changing

2: (to 1) You're crazy.

3: But not quickly enough to notice.

1: Well I notice that the moon is brighter than it's ever been before. Why is that?

long pause

2: I like it.

1: Oh, I do, too.

2: Why ruin the--

3: Are you sure it's brighter?

2: --the mystique of it?

3: Because it looks very similar to me.

1: I do enjoy the mystique.

2: Yes, it's definitely brighter

long pause

2: The mystique is half the fun.

3: It's really not brighter at all.

1: But it is.

3: Because the moon doesn't actually shine

2: The mystique is half the fun.

3: In that no light emanates from the body that is the moon.

2: The mystique--

1: But--

3: The illusion of a glowing moon that we are currently viewing--

1: Is the mystique--

2: I don't really think we--

3: Is nothing more than the reflection of the sun's rays.

1 and 2: Ahhh....

1: The sun's rays.

2: That makes sense.

1: Because the moon is not in fact giving off light

3: You see?

2: I do.


1: Mmhmm.

long pause

4 (off-stage): Fuck!

pause, 4 enters

4: That is one gorgeous moon, my friends, one gorgeous god damn moon


4: I don't think I've ever seen the moon quite this bright before.

1: It's the sun.


4: No... that's the moon.

2: It's the reflection of the sun's rays. You aren't actually seeing the moon, because the moon is not luminary.

3: What you are seeing is the reflection of the sun's rays off of the surface of the moon.

2: So, in essence, what you are seeing is the sun.


1: Indirectly.

long pause

4: Ah.


4: But there is a moon.

3: Oh yes.

2: No doubt.

1: Can we be sure?

2: (to 1) You're crazy.

4: Yes, there is a moon. And because there is a moon, rays from the sun are able to hit the surface and reflect off, making their way to the Earth, including the very spot that I am standing, the very inches that my eyes are occupying. And because the rays are reflected from the surface of the moon to these very inches, I am able to see all else the rays are illuminating. As well as the interlocking shadows -- I am able to see where the rays cannot reach and the battles waging at the line that separates the two. And the shimmering lake -- the needle-glint of a rising wave that is quickly swallowed onto itself by the following needle-glint, each more fleeting than the last, each a mere reflection of a reflection of a ray but piercing just the same. And the stars -- I am able to pick from a million tiny specks, joining together to litter the sky in the short hours before the sun returns in it's arrogance, outshining all, oppressing the stars and the moon and the earth -- burning, simply burning. Because the moon does not shine, because the moon merely reflects, because the moon is merciful, I can see the stars. And the sliver of a passing glint as the lake breaks. And the shadows, the belligerent shadows, driven back by the sun, but free to play, to have their long-awaited reign. Because of the moon. And it's fucking beautiful. It's a fucking beautiful moon.

long pause

4 exits

long pause

1: Fuck.


This was one of my first exercises in cutting back. I initially had a bunch of stage directions in this piece as well, a whole lot of nature-driven quasi-absurdist action. It seemed really cool when I was writing it and read horribly afterwards; symbolism for the sake of symbolism. So I sliced it all out and left just the words, making it inadvertently one of my first exercises in encouraging directorial interpretation as well. This would soon become a running theme.


Since it's past midnight I suppose I can officially give some thoughts on the Jeff Nominations. May as well do so before I'm offline for a week. Intial reactions:

- What the hell happened to The Hypocrites' Our Town? No ensemble nod? No individual acting nods for Cromer and Grace? Was the committee watching the same show as me and everyone else that sold that fucker out and moved it to New York? It deserves the production and director awards, but it also deserves so much more than that.

- On the reverse, the fact that Boho's Jekyll And Hyde: The Musical was nominated for anything other than Waste Of Paul Rekk's Money is discouraging. Other nominated shows that would have made that category: Circle's Hay Fever and Steep's Greensboro: A Requiem.

- Things I see'd and liked a lot: Ryan Jarosch in Hubris' Torch Song Trilogy, Brenda Barrie in Lifeline's Mariette In Ecstasy -- except for the last five minutes; an exceptional group of Supporting Actors in a Play -- I only missed Nathaniel Swift, but the rest were all fantastic; Blindfaith's Woody Guthrie's American Song snagging an under the radar 5 nods.

- Stiffest competition: Sound Design. Nick Keenan for New Leaf's Touch and Stephen Ptacek for Dog & Pony's God's Ear are awesome, awesome, awesome but are just a notch below Tim Hill's subtly unsettling design for Lifeline's Mariette In Ecstasy. But any (or all) of the three would make my day.

But at the end of the day, congratulations to all and to all a good night!



Brian said...

My little brother's getting married too. I know exactly how you feel.

Paul said...

Dude, I'm still wondering where in the hot g-ddamn hell "Vivian Girls" was on that so-called Jeff Awards list.