Monday, April 30, 2007

Love Tom Stoppard and Other Notes of Playwrighterly Horror and Delight

Loved The Coast of Utopia marathon on Saturday! I went in not knowing anything about it and not having read the plays. And I loved every second of it!

Okay, I admit there was approximately 20 to 40 minutes in the combined show running times of nearly 9 hours where the script was way more intelligent than I was and I couldn't follow the political discussions. But I filled the time with stuff more on my level (admiring the pretty costumes, trying to remember tabloid accounts of the famous cast members love lives, looking for the ventilated wig fronts and microphones, etc.) So I was never bored. I amused myself even during the cerebral parts. I could have come back two hours after the final curtain and watched another installment if they were willing to present a part four at 1 in the morning.

At the end of the evening the audience started calling out "Author, Author," just like in the Al Pacino movie of the same name and Tom Stoppard mounted the stage from the audience and took a bow. I had never seen this happen before-- it was very exciting.

I definitely felt that play two (Voyage) was the best of the bunch, with play one (Shipwreck) a close second. I liked the third one, but the production seemed to lose a little stamina there.

The trilogy inspired me to go back and finish the trilogy I had in mind when I wrote my play about the Oneida Community. Of course, it occurs to me that when Tom Stoppard writes large-cast, historical epic trilogies they are more emminently producable than when I write large-cast, historical epic trilogies-- but who the hell cares? I'll write it first and worry about whether it will ever be seen anywhere other than the inside of my desk drawer later. The plan is to re-work Oneida: Servants of Motion some (mainly restructing, I think), and then write two more plays, tentatively: Oneida: Stillness at the Falls (about cult-founder Noyes' final days at Niagara Falls) and Oneida: Perfectionists in Exile (about the Townerites abortive attempts to restart the commune in Santa Ana, CA). I hope to go back to the Oneida Mansion House (I only live a few hours from there now-- I can rent a car and go whenever I feel like it!!!). I will probably book a room for a few nights in the actual mansion house where the Oneida Community lived and try to do some writing there. Big excitement! Lots of research! Lots of money to be spent on research! Hundred of pages to write that are probably unproduceable! What more could a playwright ask for? Have already been outlining it a bit.

Found out last week that I did not get into Brooklyn College's MFA program. Disappointed me some. But I intend to re-apply for next year, and this way I will be able to establish residency-- so it will be cheaper if I get in next year.

I got the news that my car sold in California on the same day I got the news that I did not get into Brooklyn College. That was tough. I have (had) this absurd, animistic, anthropmorphic attachment to my little car in Los Angeles. She was just a little beat-up Corolla, but I named her Sara and would tear up or cry any time she needed major repairs and talk to her while I drove around. I blame a short story I read in Fantasy & Science Fiction magazine in the late ninties (can't remember the story name or find it on the web, I just tried) about a witch in Austin, TX, who discovers at the intersection of Braker Lane and 183 (near where I grew up) that her car is her witch's familiar. Anyway, I gave up Sara to come out here and it was like giving up one of my cats. I had planned on keeping her for at least another 5 years and really wasn't ready to say goodbye. So, it was sort of sad to hear she was gone on the same day I got the news that I didn't really have to move out here after all.

I am going to Adam Szymkwicz' reading of his play Incendiary at Ars Nova tonight. Will report on that tomorrow.

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