Tag Archives: Play

Nights of Harlem Granite

Sometimes characters I create feel more like me than I do.  Pure distilled parts of myself that don’t get ovations in the day to day world filled with the dents of my mind.   One of my favorites is Charley Who Horse, the trumpet player from Harlem in my play Whorapy, sort of the bartender of the speakeasy and when I need advice on something, sometimes I go back and read what he says. It sounds a bit vain, but sometimes when I get muddled by the maelstroms of the boiling blood in my veins, I go back to something I wrote to put my feet back on Earth or at least under my knees.  Sometime at the beginning of Act II he tells Madeline, the madame
“Don’t know. Colors and music’s all I see!
Don’t know much ‘bout no strategies!
I’m here but I ain’t, here but I ain’t,
that’s how I gotta be in this world.”

One thing is for certain no matter what happens in life from this point on and I have no idea what the hell that will be, but that’s a quote I live by. I trust my writing as more of a topography of my soul and the world and others in my life than what my brain tells me sometimes.  It’s honoring the Real. And on night like this, where every emotional condition seems to have a megaphone strapped to its lips, the night asks that I show up alone.  Last week I had a screaming session with the Universe, to express some what I feel are glaring deficiencies in the cosmic pruning of my life. It’s been a hard three years. Starting on an air mattress in Fall 2009 and ending a few days ago.  I feel slowly drilled into and I guess it’s necessary to enhance and unify my life and soul. Some nights you’re tied to the bumper and some you’re behind the wheel/Some nights the Guardians of the Mist tell you how to feel/The wicked servants burning from the shadows of the train/passing through the station to light that crooked path again…life’s a spinning circle.

My show is next Thursday. And that’s the beginning. After that, I eat and sleep and shave performance and acting.

 

Whorapy

I wrote a rugged draft in a more rugged state eleven years ago called Whorapy, set in a fictionalized speakeasy/brothel in 1920’s San Francisco; I call it a full contact sensual event; tonight I worked with a couple actors on parts of the script as another attempted thaw is in place; when I look back at the relationship I’ve had with the script, I realize it is that, a relationship that at times was forgotten, at others almost produced and once even suggested to me to throw in the East River and let it go by a well intentioned therapist who thought it was to intimately tied to my past in California;  I’ve had quiet meditations over the years on whether this piece truly is meant to be manifest by my name or should be destroyed only to realize how ridiculous it seems that every time I process out a real tectonic plate shifter I have to throw it in the trash;  it’s also been suggested more than once over the years that I not direct my own work as it is undesirable to do so for the sake of theatrical piety or some other unspoken rule asking to be broken;  I want to direct and I only want to direct what I write so that’s a real Chinese finger puzzle;  sometimes I know I can be stubborn to defend my children  or release them to the world; when I have tried to do so, like I did once with a reading of this piece, it was so demoralizing I almost thought about throwing it out as the reading was sped through and the writer was not allowed to make any comments while other actors were allowed to criticize it no matter how inane the comments;  this year, at least, I would love to cast it with those meant to wreak loving havoc with this little poetic monsterpiece; it’s not the greatest thing I’ll ever write but it is the most me-est thing I’ve written so far; it’s great when you can combine your experience, imagination and the human nature swirling about you now and in history to create something unique.  Between the notes lies the music.

RIP to Ben Gazarra who died Friday;  I am watching Dick Cavett’s interview with he, John Cassavetes and Peter Falk from 1970; what impresses me is Dick Cavett and how fluid he is as the three of them engross him in an entertaining macho swirl;  he  stays so steady and honors the energy of his guests with a sensitivity and intelligence that I admire;  I think the three of them may have been a wee bit drunk and Mr. Cavett kept his humor without demeaning them.  What else struck me were the commercials breaks the video kept and one of the was for Anicin, the aspirins that came in metal tins like Altoids and how she was battling a headache while vacuuming then popped a couple white nuggets and then in the next shot was swirling in her husband’s arms’ what struck me, and this is also from watching the show, was the timelessness of human behavior and how some things never change or I never want them to change like two adults having a post Anicin swirl after a long day or a talk show based on four adults interacting on a natural grass fed level;  for some reason these little timeless seeds seem a little faded these days; I still think this is the best time to be living in human history; I don’t believe in the good old days where no one knew what Resveratol or Ipods were but I liken our development as s species to editing a script; as a writer after a draft you edit and then sometimes the second draft is improved but you find you threw some parts out that need to be reinserted for a stronger third draft. That’s how I feel about our species; we maybe need a little human dirt back under the nails or more honest on-air tussling and at a walk in the woods pace; when I was looking at DP reels yesterday it amazed me how all of them had shots lasting no longer than a few seconds; for me it’s hard to gage whether a DP can snag the subtleties of human interaction when they’re on screen for two to three seconds; there’s nothing wrong in leaving a camera on for twenty seconds and letting the camera work with the actor; I was developing cleft eye after a while;  the pendulum has to swing on back at some point to scoop up another pound of glorious human dirt of gold-essence.

And congrats to the NY GIants; this is the second Super Bowl for Big Blue since I’ve lived here; it’s like New Year’s Eve here when they win and reminds me how much in awe I forgot to be that I live here.