Archive | October, 2015

Tent City: A Soap Saga

29 Oct

image
They cancelled all the Soaps from my childhood, but the memory remains clear (and will for life) of the high-stake emotional roller coasters of inbreeding, murder, mystery and hysterical outbursts they produced. Whole towns stuck in perpetuity of land lock like Brigadoon, where everyone had an evil twin no one knew about, and people would continually die and then come back to life again…or have massive reconstruction surgery to look like other people…for reasons that never made any sense, but were totally based on actor availability at the time.

…A part of me mourns their loss. They were fucking ridiculous, and if you missed one day you’d have no idea what the hell was going on anymore, or who was married or sleeping with whom…but it was an easy way to kill a sick day.

….I only bring this up because New Boss has taken to eating lunch in his office, while looking out his windows. It’s his new favorite thing. I know, cuz he’s told me. His very own tent-city soap, which he narrates while I type away in my office.

To set this up, (if you’re new, like he is) you need to know: we are located just out of the Port. It ain’t the greatest side of town, and has been the topic of many blogs across the years about Dancing Tweakers, Stoned Homeless Models, a Tunnel Tranny (prostitute crossdresser), et al. From time to time, we will also find ourselves the neighbors of a transient Tent-City…which will start with one, and multiply to half a dozen “homes,” collecting across several days to a month, until the cops come, bust them all, and they load of their kits like travellers, gone by the next day, until they mysteriously re-emerge slowly again, several months later.

…So happens, New Boss, got hired just after one of such transitions, so that one day while eating his yogurt he hollared out:

Boss: Hey! There’s a puptent!
Me: Oh yeah. They do that. Must be city rebuild time.
Boss: What?
Me: Yeah, it’ll start with one or two…and if they don’t get busted another will show up soon..then another…
Boss: Seriously?
Me: Yep.
Boss: What do we do?
Me: Nothing. It’s not our property, they never come in our yard or anything to bother us.
Boss: They just “live” there?!
Me: Yep.
Boss: On the side of the overpass?!
Me: Yep.
Boss: Just like that?!
Me: Well, I mean…it’ll grow now. If no one busts em.
Boss: What do you mean?
Me: Watch. You’ll see…

…And he did. Totally fascinated. For over a week now. Like its some kind of social human study on transients. Every lunch: he’s sitting there,watching them eat and drink and have domestic disputes just like they were a living soap opera, playing out their daily dramas.

Day 2

Boss: There’s another one!! Look!! Now there are TWO tents!
Me: Yup. I told yuh…
Boss: …Same piece of grass, but like 20 feet away.
Me: it’s like a “gentleman’s agreement” of land rights. Those’ll redistribute to smaller plots as it continues to populate.

Day 3

Boss: That one has a bike now. He looks like he’s talking to someone but I can’t figure out to who.
Me: Prob’ly no one. They frequently have arguments with the air and trees and things.
Boss: Seriously?
Me: We had one dance outside the tunnel for like three hours one day to no music at all.
Boss: Like, for money?
Me: No, for fun. He just felt like it I guess.

Day 3

Boss: Five!! Five tents!
Me: Yep.
Boss: Not to be gross, but…where do they…you know…go to the bathroom?
Me: There.
Boss: Where?
Me: Anywhere. There…or there…or there…
Boss: Just–Out in public?
Me: Well yeah. It’s not like they travel with Honeybuckets or something…
Boss: Seriously?!
Me: You’ll see. Literally, at some point (unfortunately)…

Day 4

Boss: OHMYGOD! THATWOMANINFAKFURANDHIGHHEELSJUSTWALKEDACROSSTHESTREETTOTHATOTHERPATCHOFGRASSSQUATTEDANDPEED!
Me: Yep.
Boss: Just like that!
Me: Yep.
Boss: I can’t even. And that guy! What’s he doing do you think?
Me: Picking the ground for cigarette butts and needles most likely.
Boss: Woa.
Me: Yeah, I can’t handle the shoot ups part…s’why I’m super glad my office faces the tunnel and I don’t have to see when they do that crap. Too much traffic.

Day 5

Boss: Fight!! Its a fight!
Me: They’ll calm down in a minute. All they do is yell…if it got violent, the cops would stop and make them all go away.
Boss: So they just stand there screaming back and forth? What does that resolve?
Me: I dunno. Nothing. What does it ever resolve.
Boss: It looks like it’s about that fur-coat lady.
Me: So I’m gonna guess she banged someone she shouldn’t have and now her boyfriend is pissed.
Boss: Well yeah, but..I mean…one would guess based on her behavior and dress that that is like her “job” so to speak.
Me: Oh yeah, no, she’s totally a prostitute…but that’s just her job. It’s like what’s-her-face in “A Hundred Ways To Die In The West.” It’s an agreement you do what you have to for livelihood. She’s just not supposed to like cozy up with someone for “fun.”
Boss: And that guy was “fun”?!
Me: Dude, you’ve seen their world. At least he still has most of his teeth.

…And so on.

…It is a bizarre and horrible fact of life that people can and do live this existance. And of course there are a variety of reasons they do…though the communities in our area of the Port seem mostly due to mega substance abuse. After years of watching them repopulate and relocate and come back again…one sorta becomes anesthetized to their presence. Like neighbors in New York, we ignore one another and do what we do to survive. One only realizes how matter-of-fact it has become when it is seen through fresh eyes….who are clearly old enough to have seen it before, but never on such a close-up, daily, routine and basis.

…In time, our neighbor’s lives will become as face-valued and unsurprising to New Boss, as a coma victim waking up after 20 years lost out at sea, or a backstabbing evil twin who stole the other’s identity and even his own wife couldn’t tell. Because that’s just the way it rolls in America…sadly.

…At the moment, at least, Tent-City has a most consumed witness to their daily stories…until one day when we come in to find they have moved once again, to greener pastures.

~D

Arcadia With Chekhov: The Musical

27 Oct

image

It’s one of those super crazy theatre weeks where you play three different people across three days, then see if it pans out thru the weekend.

…I mean, who am I joking, of course I was gonna audition for Arcadia after all…who the hell wouldn’t if they could?

…So after a weekend of bouncing back and forth on the fence, I gave in, did some character brush-up and review, launching me into auds last night. Tonight, I travel north for our first table read n’ formal chat on the devised Chekhov piece for this year’s Seattle Fringe, and tomorrow: I launch back into [title of show]…unless it comes up cancelled due to lack of audience…in which case I double back south for Arcadia callbacks…leading hopefully (one must always be hopeful) to casting.

…If that’s a go, I’ll prob’ly be tag-teaming ‘tween it and [tos] come Saturday.

In or out, Wednesday performance or not, that’s still a three-atre full week…which is pretty super cool, and prob’ly the funnest thing to happen to me since downloading customer Bee Cha’s contract on Monday and saying it out loud for the first time.

(…Which, no doubt, isn’t intended to be funny…it’s prob’y even a family name…leading to a totally respected lineage of former Bee Chas…with Bee Chas to come…but I get precious few happy moments in this job, so gimme a damn break.)

…Anyway…what was I talking about?

Oh yeah: Cecil is super sick, so I did a drive-n-drop of supplies on her doorstep last night, full of all the things you use for colds, but minus the alcohol. She’s sitting at home now, after going to the Doc, and is itching to be doing all the things She’s “supposed” to be doing, and would be, had She not the plague. Being one of those people who hates to get beat (even by tiny bugs floating in her spit), I’ll bet She’s reading this right now…while pouting, with total lack of else to do.

…So I’ll write her a tiny terrible poem, in lieu of a “get well soon” card.

…And here it is:

O Cecil of sickness, so full of goo,
Wisht you felt less awful and sadishly blue.

The sun, it is shining, and wants you to play,
But you’d shrivel up in it, and blow all away.

Cuz your head-parts and face-parts and parts you can’t see,
Are cloaked by invisible bugs and gross things.

So you’re too busy hacking and snorting out goop
To even think twice,’bout that paper that’s due.

Which is good, cuz your eyes are all bloodshot and ouchy,
It’s best to just “jammy,” all snug on your couchy.

So this time next week, you’ll feel gooder than good,
And go back to the super “Cecil” you should.


Gwen

~D

The Deal

23 Oct

image

…So the deal is, two days before I went on vacation for a week in order to open this show, Corporate arrived on a surprise visit, fired The WHS Pimp, and brought in another guy.

…With no time to process any of this, I had to call a cab to take The Pimp home, and meet and start training my new Boss, within two hours. Hadda total meltdown at lunch in the car, then finished the day, ran music and lines with a recorder, and that night, went to see our Sister show Open…only to wake up and do it all over again the following day.

….Friday night, I left my desk with no fucking idea if I’d have a job or an office by the time I got back, a week later…but there was certainly no way I was gonna cancel the vacation, as I was also (as previously discussed) freaking the fuck out about opening this show.

For a week, I sought a buffer and tried to land some kind of solid footing on emotional ground. I didn’t succeed. But I did survive.

….And I came back from my non-vacation, to the same job and desk. And I didn’t die, or have a meltdown that Monday. Even when Corporate came back again. And I didn’t on Tuesday. And I didn’t on Wednesday.

…And I say this more as a form of wonderment than achievement, because I still don’t know why.

These past months of awful, just seemed to get so much worse, even when I thought it couldn’t possibly. That bitch peaked at like a Mount Everest height…so it makes sense that it was hard to breathe and terrifying at every step.

…And then, because, I guess there’s nowhere higher to go in the vicinity: it stopped climbing to worseness.

…Which doesn’t mean the world and my problems in it are magically fixed somehow…it just means that at some point, the fates were like: “Yep, she’s totally teetering on her last straw. What comes next is what they make Lifetime original movies about…guess we should back off her ass a bit and see if she can keep floating or drowns. No use beating a dead horse…”

Despite the fates’ combo-metaphor usage, they knew enough to stop when they did. I’m not gonna say I’m grateful about it…they’ve been making dick-moves for ages. But I will say: “It took me two weeks to process all this, and I think both theatre and office worlds are slowing achieving a better place.”

…Leaving me with an actual weekend, were I can actually relax a bit, with only laundry…a performance, and a choice of whether to audition for that one show, or just wait and work on Seattle Fringe.

This is a more reasonable speed, fates. (In case you were wondering.) This, I can do.

~D

A Letter To Friends In The Audience

16 Oct

image

You know how I have really high expectations of myself as a performer? And, you know how I am my worst critic and get really pissed off when I feel I have not been able to give the best performance I can for whatever random reason might have just occured?

…And you know how you mostly say, “I couldn’t even tell, what the hell are you even talking about?”

…And we sorta debate/argue a bit back and forth over it? And you roll your eyes at me, and I still feel I’ve failed, and then we all go out for a beer afterwards, under the stipulation we talk about anything at all but what you’ve just seen?

In good conscience, I can’t do that with this show.

…First of all, because it’s delightful and hilarious and populated by totally talented people…and second of all, because it’s a brand spanking new company, and we need all the word-of-mouth we can get.

This, however, doesn’t change the wall of anxiety I am facing every night to do this thing, I don’t have self confidence to be doing. You cannot reason with it, dismiss it, beef it up…I’ve tried…none of that seems to work. And though I am absolutely doing my job out there, to the best of my particular ability in this field, it is not a wheelhouse that any amount of exhausted rehearsals have managed to make me feel, “oh, hell yeah…I’ve got this.”

…In short, I will know most of the people in every audience of this show…because I’ve worked in this town for 15 years now, and have super supportive kick-ass friends. And I guess what it comes down to is:

1) Thanks for coming and being here for all of us, I know you’ll laugh lots and enjoy the hell out of this dork-fest of theatre love.

2) Please, dear God, can you spread the word on the streets to get some butts in the seats.

3) Fuck the beer, after…I’ll need a whiskey. Same table-rules apply.

Signed,

~ Perpetually-Freaked-Out-Susan

A Park Play

12 Oct

image

I am on vacation… sitting onna park bench, with a quad latté, watching a crow and two seagulls fight over a trash can.

…We’ll call ’em Ed, Vincent, and Jane…

…When I first arrived, Ed, (the snow white seagull) was lording over the lip of the can, not so much interested in exploring it’s contents, as being seen as owning them. He just stood there constantly looking around him to make sure the others were watching. “The others,” including a group of Mallards who were too busy picking at bugs in the grass, and what are apparently his arch nemeses: a Crow (Vincent), and brown speckled Seagull (Jane), who were watching closely from about five feet away.

…At first I thought it was an exercise in manliness on behalf of Ed for the benefit of Jane…as if owning the goods Vincent couldn’t, made him the better man. Especially as Vincent circled the can behind, and Jane began a yordle-yell, holding Ed’s rapt attention.

“Yeah, I got this, babe,” Ed seemed to wink, as Jane’s scream lowered to a sultry growl, “You got more than that, hot stuff,” she purred…until suddenly—!

–Vincent attacked from behind! It was immediate and vicious, as he shoved Ed from the top of the can with a body slam, leaving him dazed on the ground, flicking his head, with Jane immediately erupting into shrill laughter.

…”It was a whole Bonnie and Clyde set-up!,” I thought to myself in wonder, as Vincent nodded Jane’s way and began picking at the contents of the can. Ed, meanwhile, humiliated and bruised, yelled “Fuck you, Vincent!,” as he wobbled off on his own…away from the Mallards and past my table…where I wasn’t totally sure but I thought I heard him mumble, “…I hope you choke onna used rubber…”

…Naturally I had to laugh at this, spewing Cosmonaut coffee out my nose, and pulling Vincent’s attention for a half a second…

…Which was all Jane needed, to clear the distance ‘tween her and the can, jump up on its lip, and facing Vincent, let out a giant scream…biggest yet…which startled him so much he backed off the can into mid air and sorta hung there…like in a cartoon. When he came-to and tried to re-land, he got another yell from Jane…and then another.

“…But baby, I —”

“–PISS OFF!”

“…But honey you said–”

“–I SAID: OUT!”

…And then, I swear to you…she started reaching into the can and flicking trash at him…

“–AND TAKE ALL YOUR SHIT WITH YOU!”

“…What? What? I don’t understand…??”

“–YOUR CRAPPY CHIP BAG…THAT EMPTY CUP…THIS OLD TOILET PAPER ROLL. HOW MANY GD TIMES HAVE I TOLD YOU TO GET RID OF THIS GD TOILET PAPER ROLL…!?”

“…But you said you liked the toilet paper roll. You said it would look nice in the front nest…”

“FIFTEEN YEARS AGO, I SAID THAT, VINCENT. A LIFETIME AGO. AND NOTHING HAS CHANGED! I CAN’T TAKE THE MONOTONY ANY MORE! ALWAYS THE SAME GRIFT, THE SAME END…THE SAME EVERYTHING. I NEED TO START THINKING ABOUT ME AND MY FUTURE AND WHAT I REALLY WANT OUT OF LIFE. AND IT’S NOT YOU VINCENT. WE’RE THROUGH.”

…After this final shriek of Jane’s refuse-flinging outburst, Vincent ceased his attempts at regaining his ground. He looked around assessing the damage of his rejected personal items strewn across the lawn, while the Mallard neighbors watching slyly from afar tried not to make eye contact, as they gossiped amongst themselves.

“…Janes finally doing it…I knew she would, I knew she would–”

“–Poor bastard, isn’t that just the way of it? She just had to do it on a busy Monday lunch break too…no privacy at all…”

“I always said it would never work: those two…”

“–Don’t be racist, Delphine…”

“– I’m not! It’s a matter of religion and temperament!”

…And so on…as Vincent, all alone, took flight, leaving all his mess of things and broken heart, behind.

I’m not entirely sure what the moral of the story is, as Jane continues to work on her trade-goods alone. Maybe it’s about how being a woman of independent means is infinitely more satisfying than settling into a life of “making due.” Maybe it’s a commentary on middle age crises and the need to reinvent oneself to reinvigorate life-purpose.

…And maybe it was just: Jane is a giant bitch.

…We may never know.

~D

%d bloggers like this: