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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Theater, Music, Food

After blowing off posting last night, it occurs to me this morning that throughout the holidaze the idea of writing in the evening is a nonstarter. Perhaps as a result the entries here will be less or more of something – though I’m not certain what. Today I’ve begun writing immediately after my morning meditation. That will be my strategy through the New Year holidaze.

If I were actively writing a new play, or if I had a magazine assignment, that would be the first order of writing each day. However, as I commented yesterday in an email to administrator at the Sewanee Writers Conference, where I was once Horton Foote’s teaching fellow, this is a very strange time to be a writer. Magazine assignments seem to be a thing of the past, at least for me. No one even responds to my queries.

I did finish reading Stoppard’s “Arcadia” yesterday. (I could have saved $5.50 buying it on Amazon.) It is a brilliant piece of writing and the first chance that arises to see a well-cast production, I must go. The Byron connection was what drew me to the piece originally. Upon reading, I discovered it is a tenuous connection indeed. The architecture of the play fascinated me. It is so purely theatrical.

The language of "Arcadia" as with all Stoppard plays, is lush and astute. I sometimes fear that audiences today are losing their ear for great dialogue. If Hollywood has its way, we will only hear gunshots and screeching tires in all entertainment. Words will be a form of punctuation between fusillades.

In my last post I mentioned a lively discussion that Joe Papp and I had about the end of The Real Thing”. Upon finishing “Arcadia” I quickly perused the character list for “The Real Thing” and realized it wasn’t that play at all that Joe and I discussed. It was David Hare’s “Plenty” starring a luminescent Kate Nelligan.

I also got in an extended music practice session yesterday. I played through all the tunes for “Café Lysistrata” except the anti-corporate anarchist rap number. (We likely will not include that as part of the reading, as it could take up an entire day of rehearsal to do properly.) Our plan for the reading is to have the pianist, JJ Deluxe on bass clarinet, and me on ukulele, backing up the women singing. I’ll be running the tunes everyday between now and our rehearsal sessions. It’s sometimes hard learning one’s own songs.

Is it wise for me to be part of the presentation? Who knows? The audience should enjoy it more, though, with a musical trio. It will give a fuller sense of what the show will be like, as well. I want a small musical ensemble on stage during the full production. However, like the cast, I want the musical ensemble in production to consist entirely of women. So this will be a unique opportunity for me as far as being an accompanist for “Café Lysistrata”.

It is appropriately grey and cool outdoors. Thoughts of food are unrelenting. I’ve chosen my recipe for my first ever from scratch pumpkin pies – and I do mean from scratch, or seed, since I grew the pumpkin. I’ll bake the pies tonight, after starting my dough for the loaf of bread I’ll bake in the morning.

With the oven nice and hot from baking bread, I’ll pop in half a fresh organic, locally raised turkey. (The other half will be frozen until Christmas. Once that is gone, my year long experiment as a carnivore will have ended. Beginning in January, I will return to my almost vegan vegetarian diet.) While the turnkey is roasting, I’ll go out and harvest radicchio, Swiss chard, and escarole so that we have a bowl of sautéed fresh greens as part of the meal, with my own grown garlic and some garlic vinegar from Rolling Hills Farm. It won’t be an entirely locavore meal. I’m making stir fry yams, too. I made them the same style last year. The dish is almost like Thai mikrob when it's done. There will be chestnut dressing, and potatoes from the farm. I’m getting hungry for everything but the turkey. That’s just me – always getting ahead of myself.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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