a new life for an old clown

I had a rough day at work yesterday, where I’d gotten a wee bit of a talking to about my lack of enthusiasm of late, so after an afternoon of trying to be more enthusiastic slash trying to appear more enthusiastic, what I really needed were a few strong drinks, dinner with Ali, and some spontaneous indie theater. I fished my wish, on all three counts.

After dinner Ali and I checked out Brass Tacks Theater Collective’s Script Tease upstairs at 61 Local in Carroll Gardens. The plays were short, interesting, actors flying by the seat of their collective pants, off book and with only an hour or so of rehearsal. Amina Henry‘s Government Cheese reminded me of my 20’s in the Lower East Side, with too many bills and too many bugs; Matt Barbot’s Boldy Go, a sci-fi romance on the precipice of off-world disaster was both charming and what I’d like to see more of in theater; and Daniel Kelly’s The Ninth Life of Suzanne McKinley with Brandon Jones and Alyson Leigh Rosenfeld started off as just another relationship talk before taking a very sharp left turn into the realm of the absolutely enthralling, with overtones of Heathers and Clay McLeod Chapman.

I’d say those were my favorites. Except my play was my favorite. Wildfire at the Billings Logan International Airport was the first play I’d written meant to be performed by Ali and I, which was in 2007 or so, directed by the one and only Jason Podplesky. The characters are even named Libby and Ali. When I write for myself I write myself as a clown, someone with absurd assumptions and paranoias, someone who always thinks the plane is about to crash, the train is heading for the death camp, the food is poisoned, and everyone hates me. I set Ali up as the straight man, keeping the Libby character on track and in check to the best of her ability.

To say that we were excited to watch Mimian Morales and Samantha Cooper try us on for the night would be an understatement; we were stoked, and perchance a wee bit tipsy.

Barrie Gelles was directing, and before the show she came up to warn us that they might’ve taken the play in the direction of the absurdly funny, pushing our characters to their outer limits, and she didn’t want us to think this was how she really viewed us. We assured her not to worry, we would not be offended; between the two of us in fact we are about impossible to offend.

We near died laughing. It may be that people don’t view us that way, as a paranoid clown and a hyper-critical lush, but it’s how we view ourselves, and Barrie and Brass Tacks nailed it.

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