09 August 2007

Several Things, None Of Which Are Cats

Hi. Good morning. How are you? Have you blogged lately? Me neither. That's nice. Have a good day.

I realize that some of you may have been worried for my wellbeing, as I did not catblog this past Monday. I suspect this since John sent me an IM that said, "catblogging?" The masses are concerned. (I am playing hard to get.) Granted, I see John every day at work, so he knew I wasn't trapped under a particularly heavy box of books, alone in Inwood where no one can hear my screams, but someone else may have been worrying about that, right? Fact is, Monday night's "7pm show" turned into "three-hour show" turned into "party afterwards" turned into "we're all going to a bar" turned into "home at 3am," at which point it was no longer Monday anyway, so the entire thing was shot.

I also still have yet to carry out the meme Riese tagged me with. If I keep blogging about how I haven't done it yet, it might not seem odd to do it three weeks after the fact.

Some highlights from the last several radio-silent days:

Brown/Trinity Playwrights Repertory Theatre. Almost as challenging a name as NYU's Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program, this is the new incarnation of Brown Summer Theatre. But where BST did old, dusty trifles like Oh, Coward! (backstage at which I read The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay), the Playwrights Rep does new plays, good new plays, like last summer's Speech and Debate by Stephen Karam (coming to a Roundabout black box near you!). Fact is, Brown puts out good playwrights. Even though I swore 14 months ago that I'd stay away from Brown until my reunion in 2009, I had some friends writing a musical, some friends in the musical, and, as evidenced by my blogging, a hardcore hankering for Tealuxe. So I went, seeing three great shows in one day, making it up and back despite the most assfucked travel I've ever faced. (Original car ride falls through, preferred trains sell out, eventual train is two hours delayed - "storms in the Baltimore area" - alarm doesn't go off for bus ride home, bus home is made by the skin of my teeth, bus home has only two available seats, one of which I take because, dammit, I have a show to get to at the Public. Speaking of which...)

JulyFest First Sunday at the Public. Every months of 365, the previous month's companies present their work at the Public. So you can see four (or five) weeks of plays, four or five companies' interpretations. Except in July, where each week is performed by 4 (little) companies, the First Sunday presentation featured 20 companies, each doing two of their wee plays. Which was cool. And three hours long. This is not the three-hour play of Monday, which was actually a pleasant, speedy experience. This was three hours that felt like three hours, with occasional moments of brilliance, occasional moments of painful indulgence, and everything in between. Favorites: CollaborationTown, Lucid Theatre, and The Team. I might be biased, but I also thought we looked pretty good. So many companies either stretched out their plays (trying to make 8 short plays fill an evening) or imposed their own weirdness on the text that it was refreshing (and sadly rare) for a production to actually tell the story of the play. Fancy that. Some weirdnesses (CTown, especially) brilliantly told and enhanced the stories of the plays, but it was very frustrating to see so many people ignore the fact that, despite their brevity and oddity, these plays had stories and characters and actual things happening in them. Also, when Suzan-Lori Parks gives you words, don't change them. "We're two years married" is "We're two years married," not, "We've been married for two years." Different lines, those. Okay, rant over. I'm still a huge fan of the 365 project and the community it created. I saw a lot of cool theatre on Sunday. Just also a lot of self-indulgence, too.

Monday featured another three-hour compilation, The Wikipedia Plays at Ars Nova. The culmination of Ars Nova's writers' group, it featured 17 short plays, each inspired by a Wikipedia entry. Each entry leads to the next, so we went from "The Defenestration of Prague" to "Castration Anxiety." The plays were funny and surprising, and I had a great time. I even got home in record late-night time... once I walked from 50th St. to Columbus Circle because the A was randomly skipping stops. But other than that!

Then yesterday I was at the Post Office with Jeff Bowen. It took me our whole line-waiting to be sure it actually was him, for some reason. (I think he's been working out.) I may have snuck a glance at the return address on the thing he was mailing to be sure. But then once I knew I wouldn't embarrass myself by asking "Are you Jeff Bowen?" only to be told "No," and I knew I'd just embarrass myself by being a [title of show] dork, I went ahead and embarrassed myself by being a [title of show] dork, and that was nice. Jeff says they're trying to bring it back soon. I want to know what he and Hunter are writing next. Don't Les Miz it, guys.

Also, I finished the last Harry Potter book on the train up to PVD. I won't give anything away by saying that I cried like a baby. On the train. That was fun. I also didn't realize until well into the book that the title was not the Deathy Hollows, as in some creepy forest, but the Deathly Hallows as in... lethal holy artifacts? I think that cancels out the smartness of the one dead-on prediction I'd made. But I really loved the book and might get into why later. I'll just say that this last book achieved a sophistication of characterization that really amazed me, and, much as I love her, AS Byatt can suck it.

And that's my week. Coming soon: a trip to Williamstown to see Gabe Kahane's new musical The Prophet Muhammed, Frost/Nixon, Susan Gets Some Play, Opus, hopefully Stardust, and in a couple of weeks, the long-awaited 100 Saints You Should Know. And the long-awaited, sure-to-be-a-let-down, meme. Can't wait!


parabasis said...

wait... does AS Byatt not like HARRY POTTER? Whatever. ANGELS & INSECTS was the worst book I read my entire four years in college. The self conscious mannerism of its vaux victorian style was a big load of bullshit.

At least Jeanette Winterson (who is also anti-Potter) is also one of the most interesting and frequently best novelists of her generation.

Have you finished BROOM OF THE SYSTEM yet? Did the last page anger you or make you laugh out loud or what?

PS: the word verification for this is COYBGERS. Which, if made into Coybers or Coygers sounds like it should be a real word. I demand Adam Szymkowitz comes up with either a definition or song lyric for both.

Jaime said...

I have not yet finished Broom of the System, as evidenced by its picture in the sidebar. I took a break for Harry Potter, but as soon as I find the book, I'm going to finish it. So please no more talking about the ending.

AS Byatt thinks Harry Potter is a load of crap. She thinks that it's poor writing. I don't actually think the writing is bad, but it's not good. The storytelling, though, is staggering. And in this last book she takes the characters to a level that should make the snobby critics just shut up. (I thought Rowling had written one of the characters I loved most intensely ever in my life, but then she trumped herself.)

But I do love AS Byatt - The Biographer's Tale, the Virgin in the Garden quartet, The Little Black Book of Stories. Angles and Insects is one of the only things of hers I haven't read. She's a raging snob, of course, and sometimes alarmingly anti-feminist, but I do love her writing.

Allison said...

1. Thank you. Shitty day and your blog just made me feel like a little piece of my world is ok.

2. Want to discuss Potter reactions over tea.

Moxie said...

Thank you for writing something coherent and non-spoilerish about HP that makes me even more excited to read it!