Monday, March 16, 2009

a Cuban sandwich and I discuss the horizon

I don't know about you, but I'd much rather spend the afternoon with a bocadillo Cubano than a cigarro Cubano. I adopted one from La Unica on Devon yesterday (look this place up...truly a hidden treasure) and we exchanged anecdotes and philosophical quips and then I ate it.

I'm not a man given to acts of spontaneous allegorical metaphor*, but I'm pretty sure that my Cuban sandwich comprised, in the very essence of its porky pickley being, well...the universe.

Here is a thing which is all around me, but which I rarely consider except in fleeting flights of whimsy. Vast temporal expanses grind by inexorably without so much as a cursory acknowledgment from me that it even exists. When it truly catches my attention, though, I yearn for it. I pursue it voraciously, unrelentingly. I achieve it. I consume it. I savor it briefly and then I no longer possess it. I am stricken with melancholy and longing until I am distracted and forget. Here is the universe: a Cuban sandwich.

See what I'm getting at?

Yesterday, my sandwich and I looked at the horizon.

The spring and summer in front of me are shaping up to be my best ever. I've got two very exciting theatre projects cooking, my day job makes me happy, and my scratch-built computer has just enough chops to play Fallout 3.

I'm sure you care deeply about the latter two and that's sweet of you, but how about the projects?!

Fucking Parasites: I'm directing this play for the Alcyone Festival. That's the name of the play, by the way, I'm not just addressing you as if I were R. Lee Ermy. Fucking Parasites is the first English-language offering by Ninna Tersman, a Swedish playwright living in New Zealand. It won the 2008 Playmarket Award for best new play in New Zealand, but as far as I know, it hasn't gotten a fully realized production anywhere in the world. It involves the relationship between two teenage asylum-seekers in a New Zealand Refugee Status Branch Detention Center. The acerbic title belies a play that I find to be quite tender and warm. I had worried a little bit about finding two actors who could portray the characters' ages and ethnicities convincingly and, at the same time, who were capable and intuitive enough that I in all my limitations would be good enough to direct them. As it turns out, I should have given the casting pool more credit. I had to choose two out of a stupendous group of unbelievable actors. In the end, I managed to whittle my callback list down to fifteen and I was heartbroken that I didn't have roles for all of them. I've got my cast, though, finally, and I feel great about that.

In other news, I just got an email from none other than Ninna Tersman assenting that, yes, she'd very much like to open a dialogue with me about the play. This has me walking about a foot off the ground. If I can talk her into letting me post some of our conversations up here, I will.

Devils Don't Forget: Bob Fisher at the Mammals invited me to work on this amazing original play a week ago. The whole thing happened for me sort of by serendipity: at the Halcyon generals, I was feeling envious of all the actors who got to get and do their monologues while I had to sit behind the table and be under so much pressure (yes, actors, Shurtleff isn't screwing with you, it's really much more stressful on the directing side). So I asked if, in the empty space between real actors, I could get up and kick around some things I'd never get a chance to do when I was actually up for a part. I did a Zelda Fitzgerald monologue from Clothes for a Summer Hotel (I don't know if you know this about me, but I'm not likely to get cast as Zelda anytime soon) and a poem that I'd written years ago that Chuy seems to like. Much to my surprise, Bob (who'd been at the Halcyon audition to cast his own Alcyone project, Blessed Child) emailed me days later and said he needed someone to fill a part and asked if I was interested.

I read the script and I was just floored. I don't want to give too much away, but the character I was offered was one of the most imaginative and bizarre roles I've ever gotten a shot at, and the play is such an unlikely twist on a familiar trope that I couldn't say no. I've been to a grand total of one rehearsal so far, and I'm loving the process and the people and I can't wait till everybody gets to see this.

My horizon is bright. I am chasing it like a kitten chases a laser pointer and I'm so a-fluster that I'm crossing similes and mixing imageries and the whole thing totally loses cohesion (but in a good way). My Cuban sandwich shared my schoolboy optimism right until I ate it, and even in my tummy it seemed to say "Go, Adam. You just go, man." Thanks, Amigo Bocadillo.

I have so much more to chatter on about, but I'll wrap up here, for now. Someone keeps telling me that I'm not at all terse, despite my lengthy and elaborate arguments to that end. Well, sir, I won't give her the satisfaction of having a protracted and meandering monograph for her to call "exhibit A". Brief and to the point is the way to go. Until next time.

*In truth, I might be a man given to acts of spontaneous allegorical metaphor.

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