It was a great feeling to perform my play last night.
After our rehearsal Monday I said that this was it, that I’d never produce this play, or any other of my plays, ever again. That I was finished. Last night, after finishing our mini run in Festival of the Offensive, I realized that I say that every time I do a show. Every time we do a Sticky, I say that under no circumstances will we ever do another Sticky. Every time I produce a longer form play, I mean every, single time, I say that I won’t ever do it again.
Then I start writing something that I want to make happen, and we start working on it. Like now I want to revise Puff Puff a little, reverse a little bit in scene 3, add some stuff in scene 5, and do it again. I’ve got all these stages in my head, places where we could take the play.
From a production standpoint, the play is easy, the props fit in two back packs, plus two rolling chairs. After working on Radio Mara Mara last year, we decided to go super simple. Me writing, producing and performing, Ali producing and performing, plus Michael Domitrovich directing, Christina Aguilar stage managing, and dramaturg Brad Rothbart. Five people, two back packs, two rolling chairs.
My mom said that the beauty of childbirth is that you forget the pain, that once you have your prize, the pain doesn’t matter anymore. I think that’s true of making art work as well. Once you have the work, fully formed, you forget the pain of late nights, early mornings, how hard it was to make it. And you have a prize. Somehow I ended up with no pictures. We forgot to schedule a photo session. Maybe for the next project we’ll do that first.
I would feel sort of down after the end of the project, the classic crash after the project high, but I’m too excited about the next thing. I’m writing a short play for the season finale of NY Madness. Madness is a project where writers get a theme, and like 3 days to write a short, then a director and actors get a few more days to make it happen. The plays will be presented on May 12th, at Playwrights Horizons.
It’s like after this giant meal of Puff Puff, I get NY Madness for dessert.
We get the theme on Monday, but I’m been thinking about what I’d like to write about. In working on Puff Puff, I had to like turn off parts of myself, the part that feels things about the horribleness of the world. It’ll be a real joy to get back in touch with my emotional self. I hope she’s still in there somewhere.
I think C does too. I’m really grateful that we had such a wonderful babysitter this week. C was so excited when she was coming over. It’d been hard, over the past few days, to be a mom-type-mom with him, and then go to the show and talk about horrible things happening to children and women and mothers as though it was just part of the landscape. It is part of the landscape of our culture, our society, our world, but typically I try to block our the horrible and live for the joy. Doing this show, I had to make a mockery of both the horrible and the joy, and it was not easy to transition between my character, who is kind of an asshole, and my actual self, who tries really hard not to be an asshole.
In some respects, I feel like I’ve been a person transitioning between personalities my whole life. When I was a kid, I remember feeling like one person with my dad, and a totally different person with my mom. Feeling different again with my grandparents, or friends. I always had this sense that I should be the person whoever I was with was expecting me to be. And the person I expected me to be was the person who failed all those expectations, who let everyone down.
Even with Dave, and especially in the early years, it felt like there was a role that I was meant to play, and I tried to play it. We both did. Part of growing up together in this marriage has been reminding each other, and ourselves, that we are not beholden to those kinds of expectations, even from each other, that we both have room to change, to become, to cast off.
The blog has been up now for a little over a year, and as I look back over it, I think much of what I’ve been doing has been to try to take all of these disparate pieces of myself and forge them into one person. There’s been a little fall out; I think I’ve lost out on a few opportunities because perhaps the blog is too candid, perhaps I give my words too much credit and it was just my charm that wore thin. I think in some ways, social media gives people more of a chance to fracture themselves: fb profiles just for family, just for friends, twitter handles, instagram beauty, linked in career advancement, ok cupid datability, all of it. We have this idea that we should show a different part of ourselves depending on who we’re talking to, we get bogged down in our identities, in the parts of ourselves we share, or don’t share, or think people would find unpalateable, or find unpalateable ourselves, despite our protestations.
Anyway I feel like more of a whole person than I felt when I started writing all these words a little over a year ago.
I wonder if I can write up a scene about that, in 10 minutes or less.
Want to check out NY Madness? Here’s a link!