I had a wonderful two days off this week. We closed As You Like It on Saturday (after two production meetings with other groups for me), then I saw A Streetcar Named Desire at the Intiman on Sunday afternoon, and left afterwards for a few nights with the family at the Duckabush River.
Our final show was terrific, with some extra horsing around which was very well-suited for the show -- I usually get nervous when people do that. A lot was insider stuff that gave extra life for the audience and about killed the director with laughter. Our cast party is this Saturday, and I expect it to be a good time. I had two work friends come to the show, one from my current job came the first weekend, and for the next to last show an old acquaintance from Corbis where I worked in 2000. Neither of us expected to see the other. On the other hand none of my family (the folks) and group of friends (Beth, Rachel, Greg, Bob, et al) who come to most of my shows made it to this one. Kind of a funny and enjoyable irony.
Seeing Streetcar was fun (it was as good as people have been saying), as I went with my scene partner from Meisner, where we did a scene between Mitch and Blanche a little over four years ago. I'll always be able to figure out that date, as it was the same night Marlon Brando passed away. Even though we didn't have Stanley in our scene, it felt like a bit of a cosmic connection and I still hope he has a generous soul.
Then off to the Duckabush River and family for a few days. My niece who is about to have her first baby was on her way out, and it was a pleasure to see her and meet her boyfriend. In the ten minutes or so I was quite impressed with him, and I hope they all do as well as I'd hope and guess from my impression.
We used to have Chautauqua's for Thanksgiving at the Duckabush in the 80's and 90's, and when the crowd got larger and less tolerant of primitive Winter conditions a couple insisted with token resistance we stop Thanksgiving in the woods. At that point the homegrown sharing and entertainment kind of died without fanfare. A number of us wanted to resurrect the tradition, but the Thanksgiving get together pretty much dissipated too. I missed the Chautauqua, because it was one of the factors in getting me to try an acting class to get over my stultifying stage fright.
It turned out they were planning one for Sunday night. I recited The Cremation of Sam McGee. I treated it seriously which made the funny parts funnier. In the past I'd done another of Service's poems, a similar one and this was a very different experience. It is still harder to perform for close friends and family (unless they are part of a larger audience), but I was able to take on the character and circumstances to where I really felt like I brought some people into the world of the Yukon as I understand it. That made the story more fun for me too. Probably the bigger difference was I enjoyed sharing something I appreciated, rather than enduring it as a trial. It was great fun, and I was flattered by the surprise from people in the difference between now and the last time I participated.
I made my black bean vegetable soup for Monday's dinner, which I'm starting to think of as Summer Stew. It was a big hit, and everybody still around the next day had it for lunch and several people asked for more before I left. Like the last time at the cabin, I read Dr. Seuss (plus Harold and the Purple Crayon) to the younger nephews and nieces, while a few of the older ones wandered into the area to listen.
I had fun, and realized that the anxious and claustrophobic feeling I get in large noisy groups is dissipated when reading or being silly. Wish I'd noticed that as a kid. I'd have had a lot more fun, and maybe captured some of the childhood I left behind all too early. I don't know if I've ever gone into that here in detail. Probably because not, having the childhood interrupted experience is what brought me to theatre and the arts relatively late, and made life so enjoyable now. Had I not stopped being happy at six or seven, would I appreciate and savor what I have now as much? I think not. I may be wrong, but it is not a productive concern. Savor the moment as much as I can right now, so I can honor the past and future with more facility. That's the better approach for me.
The better approach for me partially led to a thought I kind of like, both artistically and spiritually. Consider the thought that every person alive, past and present, is you. For me it doesn't matter if I look at it as a logical exercise or an actual possibility for reincarnation or as being a part of a larger spiritual whole. It is simply an acknowledgement that at some level I am capable of being a Gandhi or a Hitler. I suspect that is why so many of us detest seeing news of tragedy or atrocities, and savor news which is hopeful or joyful. Either way we see our own reflection.