Wednesday, December 2, 2009

'The Persistence of Memory'

Last night, the rain fell all day, still, we had our biggest audience. The streets and sidewalks were flooded, so I actually thought that no one would even show up. I can only believe that the show is beginning to take hold. Yesterday was also the day our first review came out, (which was a good one) http://www.examiner.com/examiner/x-14051-Austin-Theater-Examiner~y2009m12d1-Bohemian-Cowboy-One-mans-journey-through-the-desert-and-his-soul I'm hoping that this was a result. With every show, the ripples from the rocks we are throwing seem to be having their effect. (The very reason I wanted this 'longer run' on the show.) It was a good show, I thought, even though one college student fell asleep. I could see him beginning to nod off at the very beginning of the show, much like what happens to me at the opera. Not that I don't enjoy the opera, but I really have to focus to stay awake. He did wake up about an hour into the show, and he seem to enjoy the last thirty minutes. (insert chuckle here) I met Rick Fofi, (he came to the show last night and lives here in Austin) brother of David Fofi, who is the artistic director of The Elephant Theatre in LA where I did the show the first time around. The Elephant Theatre was just voted as 'The Best Theatre Company' in Los Angeles, I believe by the LA Stage Alliance. David's brother and his girlfriend, Cynthia, took us out for pizza after the show, both wonderful and interesting people. Its always amazing how one connection leads to another, meeting someone in one city, leads to someone you meet in another city, etc...

In Los Angeles, when we had the rehearsal space at The Elephant Theatre, it would just be Kurt and I, when David (the artistic director) would come into where we were rehearsing, much of the time we would be sitting at a table with our pens and scripts. No one really knew us, you could see the look on their faces as if to say, "What are these guys doing?" When the show finally went up, and we got great press, the atmosphere totally changed. As it turns out, David grew up around Las Vegas, knew the Valley of Fire very well, (where my father disappeared), further, his mother often went to 'Arizona Charlie's', my father's favorite casino. It was definitely the right place for us to be developing the play. In retrospect, again, its one of those strange coincidences that seemed to go beyond the realm of 'a coincident'. When I think of all the theatres in LA, and we land in a theatre where the artistic director, (after the fact) had a direct connection to all the places that are written in the play. These connections seem undeniable to me. Aaah, the conspiracy of the universe, asking that we uncover the plan, masquerading as artists. The nature of art is as powerful as any religion or spiritual experience, the 'big' questions of life and death begin to profoundly give way to answers, and all we can do is stand in wonder, and take one more creative chance, one more leap of faith.

I'm still having some moments of anxiety, but they seem to be caused by 'little things', and I can only believe this is a result of a persistent kind of stress of negative experience of 'a little thing' over a course of time. For example, the telephone can cause me anxiety when it rings, (or that annoying sound it makes when I have a voice message). Its strange, and this reaction doesn't happen all the time, it seems to be connected to either a certain time of the day, (morning) and when my mind is in a certain kind of disarray. During the darkest days of my depression, I remember dreading the coming up of the sun. Perhaps this morning anxiety is still a hangover from those very dark days. Certain smells, sounds, or even something I see can trigger this déjà vu experience. As I'm writing this, I also recall the comforting ones as well, (you know you are self medicating when the smell of whiskey, or the delicate smell of the inside of a bottle of pain medication brings about a warmth or relief). The smell of coffee brewing triggers feelings in me of sitting around a campfire, (a good one). All of these seem to me to be connected to the 'acting experience,' perhaps the reason there is such elation at the end of a performance. A performance creates a forum where all your senses are in full bloom, and falling on top of each other all at once. I suppose it is one of the truest forms of therapy one can have and still have fun. I've noticed recently, how the performing of this play begins with a combination of all of these senses, each one building upon another until the response becomes a fluid motion into the next one, and the next one, etc. It truly is a mystical experience, a profound experience into an alternative universe.

Its very cold in Austin today, everyone wearing jackets, mufflers, and hats. My day began with a trip to the dog park, which has become a morning ritual, and perhaps it's changing, or re-arranging the psyche of those dark morning moments. Although Lucy called with the news that there are no reservations tonight, I still believe this day will have it's momentum, and when its all over, I'll feel like something has definitely happened, and for now, sitting in this coffee shop writing down these words, there is a peaceful and full moment...

3 comments:

Gerry said...

Interesting blog after a review, indicating that the playwright-performer cannot afford to bask in small triumphs, as a good review, but must keep testing the atmosphere, actively trying to connect to potential viewers out there as the performance becomes more layered and ultimately more satisfying to see I am sure. You wanted a longer run so you could polish and refine your acting, and I am so glad you have gotten the chance to do this, as this is bound to attract and magnetize more people to it in mysterious ways.

Paul Grimsley said...

I really enjoy reading your blogs and have been remiss in not saying so before now. I still think about that time in New York when we met and how enjoyable that was. I definitely look forward to the point when our paths cross again, and I hope to one day see you perform your play.
Hope this finds you well.

Paul

kanyonlandking-annk.blogspot.com said...

I enjoy the discovery of yourself in your blog...before the show and after. What a great review..Kate and Gerry both posted. It's great when someone can see a show and find it fascinating. I hope each show pulls those in that need to see it. May each day find a new step taken...