Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The 'Under the Desert' Vortex

'Under the Desert' will open tomorrow night on The Thompson Ledge, at 8p, dusk, and will run for four consecutive nights. The process has been arduous, but currently, in the tornado of doing the play, I'm always at my happiest. Contrary to believing the play was finished, (after twenty years of first writing it) I've been able to find even more changes and lots of editing. I am once again broke and hungry, but as the writer Hubert Selby once said, "Art doesn't just cost you something, it costs you everything…" At this point in my life that statement seems redundant, and as I've been told, boorish at this stage in my life. Thank God, however, for the Jackson Pollock biography that Sean brought, (reading it has been the only way I can go to sleep at night). Still, at this early morning hour, I feel all the years of experience coming to play, as we have created a beautiful theatre piece on the top of a sand rock mesa, right out in the desert the way I saw it in a dream. We have battled the elements—rain, wind, hornets, (Tracee, the actress, was stung three times on the first day) wasps, stickers, wind, and a four wheel drive road that is partially washed out by the rain. We lived on peanut butter for a couple of days. We ran out of propane for three days, and have had some faulty equipment. We have all thought of quitting at one point or another, but there is a wonderful rhythm that emerged from somehow getting up the mountain to our rehearsals. The set is built out of twenty-five foot tepee poles, and two canvases from the tepee of an old Apache man. The equipment had to be taken up, piece by piece. The actual stage space is contained in a rock circle that was built as a yin and yang art piece by an artist from Germany. The trail leading to the theatre had to be excavated through sage brush and thistle. the electricity strung across the desert landscape for two hundred yards. My foot has a thorn that has migrated up into my foot, so I've been limping my way to the end. Thunderstorms are in the forecast, and the end of August wind is bringing the temperatures to coolish levels in the evenings. I've had to hire a four wheel drive transportation person, or my audience will have to walk up the long and winding road. (picture the road to Dracula's castle, no offense meant to Anselm, the owner of the mesa and modest castle). Ants, sawing down pinon and cedar tree branches to clear trails around the stage, a sometimes blinding sun, all create the art piece that is 'Under the Desert'. It will be beautiful, (and already is) and is once again, costing everything, can it get more exciting? I think not! Someone catch me though, at the end of all this. Our Saturday night dinner show, is sold out, and I am convinced that anyone who misses this show is missing an event that will never exist in this way again. Once again, my two cousins, Camille and Cheryl have come through in such a big way, and also the community of Boulder. My brother Dan has kept me laughing throughout, as we sit in the back of Peter and Tina's small four wheeled drive pick-up while coming down the mountain. I was fortunate to get Mollie and Claire, my two stage managers, as they are the 'best' stage managers I think I've ever had. (and both tough Boulder girls, which this project would not have existed without). Mom, the Boulder theatre saga continues. Dad, I can feel your spirit and laughter, in that amused way. Aunt LaRae, you have been a huge help, especially up there on the Thompson, which you know so well…

I'll write more about the process at the end, and I'll let you know how it plays, but for now, there is a dimmer pack to fix, and a program to be fashioned, and as always, a price to pay, but hell, someone has to do it… Hello to Diana, my inspiration…and let me tell you, IT IS a rodeo…

6 comments:

Gerry said...

Goodness sakes, I have heard so many rumours by e-mail that I couldnot make out what was happening, but it is very good to get the word out of the very mouth of the playwright and creator of one more great theater event. The drama continues. Sounds like a drama worth seeing! I know you are happy even if you go hungry sometimes for the sake of your art! You are giving real meaning to the term 'poor starving artist.'

Renee said...

This production sounds amazing. Please share pictures.

Chuckh said...

Holy shit! Seems the older you get the tougher you are, Mr. Nails! Don't worry, we'll catch you after the fall...or how about before the fall?

caroline said...

Yes! did you see that I put up a blurb for the play on the Boulder Mountain Lodge FB page?
Do you want Dennis to bring his camera this time, too?

kanyonlandking-annk.blogspot.com said...

Wow, once again to climb up Thompson ledge where coyotes and sand money is made. You seem just to find sand money! My grandkids caught the spirit of making sand money...something abut that! I will love seeing your production.

Gerry said...

I forgot to say I was worried about the thorn in your foot. As a mother I directed you to soak your foot in soapy water warm at least twice a day to cut down on the possibility of infection! Infection is an occupational hazard of the poor and homeless. I hope you will not get rain on your parade tonight. I laugh everytime I think of this play taking place on the top of Thompson's ledge. This is so like you, somewhow. Your account reminds me of all the dramas your ancestors lived through when they were running cattle on top of the Bounds and King benches, and the time your Grandpa King made me go help him move some cattle up a steep little trail to Sinking Water Bench to take advantage of snow up there and with him shouting I crowded the cattle on my horse until they pushed one heifer off bawling all the way down the canyon to her death. Oh, I would love to see this play, you don't know how like your wild cowboy ancestors you really are!