Thursday, April 21, 2005

Ruling Planet, anyone?

More work, this time we got all the way to the end of the play and will do it again tomorrow. It went by so fast. Don’t know if that’s a sign of auto-pilot acting or of genuinely being in the moment, but … I didn’t know the scene was over until it was over. I fear the former.

The sun.

The blessed sun finally appeared today. We ran into the streets to catch a patch of that fiery ball in the sky … like the ogres in Plato’s cave. So brilliant. There are many cafes and many bars and actually many places to get wi-fi. But not all three at once. Pick two, as usual. Whatever. It should take more to make me uncomfortable. I bought a bunch of groceries today and have been faithfully making my breakfast and lunch every day, so that saves major cash (food is so expensive here, dining out, groceries, franchise garbage -- everything). The only vaguely touristy thing I want to do is climb the mountains.

PJ seems really relaxed up here and is even thinking about cutting back our rehearsal time because he’s so happy with the state of the production. Perseverance’s performance space is incredibly nice. Good chairs, good configuration, good space, everything. The story of how Molly built this thing is … one of those ceaseless, brilliant, inspiring stories about warrior artists that is, let’s face it, all the more spectacular because she did it in the middle of a mountainside Alaskan city with 32,000 people. A friend donated 50 theatre chairs and she brought them here on a barge, shoved them in a vacant building, wrote a play with locals, made a smash, and then grew from there. To the point where the theatre now has a permanent 500k matching funds endowment and is ready to break ground on another $1million expansion. The theatre staff built the fucking theatre. With their bare hands. In the rain. Paula Vogel had a longstanding collaboration here with Molly (both went to Catholic U) and Paula developed not only How I Learned to Drive, but also The Baltimore Waltz, and Baby Makes Seven here, I think.

Lot of boisterous women and sullen men here. One can understand why: the male to female ratio is something like 8:1. A slogan has emerged from this dynamic:

“The odds are good, but the goods are odd.”

It should be inscribed on the city emblem. In Latin. According to our AD Sarah, the women are intensely protective of their men out here. You’d think it would be the other way around.

The air still breaks into your lungs with its shamelessly pure heft. The mountains on either side of the city still gives you the effect of being hiked back on an elastic tight-rope that threatens to snap from its anchor and send you flying into the sky. And the sky. Is downright fearsome when it comes out.

The men wedge themselves into the corners of the bars and wear Marlboro smoke as a protective shield to block a furtive eye-scanning that belies the totem-stoic posture. They’re hungry. Meanwhile, the women shriek and laugh with abandon -- the city is an over-sized sorority house for the chubby, the toothless, the gorgeous, the indigenous, the young, the middle-aged, all of them. If any transaction is to take place, it’s on their terms.

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