Last night was a splendid evening on The Thompson Ledge. The actors finally hit a finely paced show with few mistakes. The house was full, (about thirty people), and the storms calmed an hour before the show. Jan Stringham and Bernie played music in Anselm's small amphitheater for the small gathering of folks waiting to walk the trail to the theatre space. The light in Boulder through the clouds before sun-down was breathtaking, and the desert ground was wet with the rain showers from earlier in the day. Corey waited at the bottom to bring people up who didn't want to risk the drive up the winding road, and many of them walked up. It was a great mix of people for the show. I realized watching the show last night how startling it may have been for some, but also realized how unexpected it is. It is definitely not 'Annie Get Your Gun'.
This play has always brought with it a strange mystical effect in a space and during performances. Last night, the wind, the sound of crickets and distant thunder worked perfectly with the play. During the palm reading sequence, as Tom looked down into Ellie's palm, the wind suddenly blew the pinon branches into the canvas set. I'm sure it was not lost on the audience, it was magical, and yet I'm sure that those in attendance who espouse the responsibility of the devil in these palmistry arts saw it as an affront, those with a gray area in there minds saw it as magical. During the last act, the crickets crackled against the dialogue, making the minutes before sunrise less than foreboding.
Because the show is about two peoples' quest to speak with God, it does have a bit of a disturbing element. Why is it so difficult to talk about God? For those who adhere to a strict faith, it turns it upside down, and for those who are agnostic, it bends a few rules. For atheists, it must be a very uncomfortable adventure. How I managed to put a schizophrenic on stage who has a vision, and a woman who is in search of some glimpse of God and why, I'll never really know. I'm not sure how my audience feels about me staging this very strange play up on a mesa, but I do know this play carries images that will haunt forever. When Ellie stands at the end of Act One with a seashell in her hand, and the stage fills with the sound of the ocean, and her only dream in life is to see that ocean, I can only speculate as to how that image came about. When Tom picks up his brush to paint a cave wall to keep from 'splintering', it gives me an instant sob for him.
Oddly, this play both goes well in Boulder, and at the same time seems as though some foreign art form has landed like an alien on the top of a mesa. I don't know what people think. I know at the time I was writing it, I was reading Jung, Sartre, and the history of German expressionism. What a combination to influence a play. I was also grappling with the notion of Joseph Smith and the many 'divine' interventions he claims he had. I really wanted to return to the Mormon faith of my ancestors. However, in my search I came to several conclusions, and still, they change as I do. The premise of my play and thesis, supposes that no scientific laws of the universe need be broken to create a 'divine' intervention. I remember reading The Book of Daniel and the lengths he went to for his visions. Fasting and going without water for ten days will definitely conjure up a physical circumstance for achieving vision. The native Americans sometimes use hallucinates to achieve vision. Scientists use telescopes. Laymen use small portions of faith to receive small revelations about life, love, and God. We all need something to bolster our hope for a creator, but do we really want or need a God who would bring physical angels and 'divine' manifestations to turn us in a specific direction? Schizophrenics see visions and hear voices all the time, who are we to say these visions are not from a portal modern psychology can still not understand? Oh well, I've done it now.
Today, I'm in search of tables that I need to get up the mountain for a dinner party before the play tonight. What insane vision was I having to conjure up such a Saturday night event? Dinner and theatre out in the desert. Someone slap me. Still, I work while the light is on, and while the theatre Gods are testing my own faith. They laugh each time I run around daily to achieve what I have spoken into existence. There is that word, existence. Genet said that we are defined by the actions we take and not by the words we speak. He believed that there was not a God who was organizing and channeling out purpose. He believed that this job was up to us. We define ourselves by the manner and action that we take. This morning, there is no other choice but to live in this very day, and no other way to achieve what must be done but by the action of my own purpose. Perhaps tonight I'll sleep, or maybe tomorrow, if the weather holds…