A creature of habit
I'm trying to get familiar with the apartment (I've lived in this one for eight years, since I'm a creature of habit, and it's tough to think about living somewhere new, even if it turns out to be nicer than my present situation), so I have both walked and driven by it, and will continue to do so until August 15th, move-in day. Alas, that is also the first day of course registration at the BAC, but I have no choice; the landlord wouldn't let me postpone it (he will do repairs/touch ups the first two weeks of August, and then I'll move in), so I have to move that morning and work that afternoon. Major stress, but I have been given the okay (I think) to start moving in that Sunday, and it should help a bit. My sister in Florida advised me not to rush into taking a place, but I couldn't live with the uncertainty of not knowing where I would be come September 1, so I took the plunge and I hope I found made the right decision. I guess I'll find out come August 15th. I have begun the necessary phone calls (got a mover, contacted the insurance agency and my bank), and need to do the post office stuff and call the cable company this week (the latter only schedules one month out, so I can't call before Friday). I feel very relieved but also inexplicably sad this evening, and I think it has less to do with the move (though that was the case this past weekend, when I had yet another meltdown) and more to do with the this month's playwrighting meeting, where I was once again reminded of how I did NOT get into a local playwrighting festival, nor was I given the courtesy of an email (I only found out b/c I went on said festival's website and noticed I was not on the list). Sometimes, I think these playwrighting meetings are not for me, b/c the hurt outweighs the benefit. I have to consider this for the future.
On the happier news front, I won tickets to see the Dave Matthews Band/Sheryl Crow at Fenway Park this past Saturday night (just a chance thing, as I was the fourth caller to The River, and had I really been trying to get through, I wouldn't have). It was by far THE BEST CONCERT I HAVE EVER BEEN TO. It was beyond wonderful. Saturday night was perfect (light breeze, not too warm but not chilly), Sheryl Crow was terrific (I knew all but one song, a new one, and sang along to them all), Anna and I had tickets above but right near the stage, and DMB blew me the hell away. I could not believe the musicianship. I danced like crazy, and would not hesitate to see them again (my sister in Florida is going in a few weeks--she got lawn seats, and I told her to go, b/c her husband has never seen them, and EVERYONE MUST SEE DMB). I will remember that concert for a very long time. I also saw "No Exit" at the A.R.T. in Cambridge on Sunday afternoon. It was a fantastic performance (and I am usually not a big absurdist/existential play fan, though I also loved "The Goat, Or Who Is Sylvia" at the Lyric Stage in the spring). For me, there's only one answer to why I enjoy some productions and not others: THE ACTING MUST BE SUPERB. When I saw "The Play About The Baby" a few years ago, it was pretty bad, and I think that was at least in part due to the weak acting. You need experienced actors and a very skilled director to interpret Albee or Sartre's intent and bring the audience into their world, and most can't get there. (This was probably the best play I've seen all season, and I've seen a lot of them.)
The stage was also very unique and odd--it tilted in all directions about 95 percent of the time, to indicate instability, I think, and a world (aka Hell) that was askew and unfamiliar and it WORKED (though I might have cut some of it, b/c the actors looked slightly uncomfortable at times, and clearly had to work very hard at talking and moving at the same time). OTOH, I learned they had a chance to work with the set before they even spoke any of their dialogue in rehearsal (and they are, as noted, extremely skilled actors), and that probably made all the difference. The actors in my one-act play at the Five Festival did not have a chance to work with the blocks that covered the stage, and...well, you know where this is going. I try to get my play's production out of my head, but it keeps rearing its ugly head. As Stephen Colbert would say, Moving on. I am writing again, and have just finished two one-minute plays, with a third to come. But a one-minute play, you snicker? How hard could THAT be? Did it take you, say, ONE MINUTE to write it? No, do not scoff, my friends. It can take up to two hours (maybe more) if you actually want to do it write. A one-minute play is simply a compressed version of a longer one. You still need to include characters, tension, and dialogue. You are forced to compress your dialogue and situation, so you must be brief, concise, get right in and out, and really focus on a brief moment in time. But it's a fun exercise, very good practice for longer pieces, and in fact you can write pretty interesting plays. I've read some strong ones (my friend Edd writes terrific short pieces), and hopefully mine are relatively decent as well. I submitted three of them to a one-minute play festival (yes, they exist), and hope to have at least one more to write this week.
Finally, this Friday I am involved in the "Plays Written Yesterday" marathon in Billerica, MA through fusionworks (http://www.fusionworksinc.org/index.html), where I have eight hours to write a 10-minute play that will be performed the next evening. I am both excited and terrified by the opportunity, and I'll be back with more information after it's over (and good luck to me, cause I'll need it). In the meantime, I'm off to Western Mass to visit my sister and nieces tomorrow, and then I'll be back to write, pack (well...think about packing, anyway), work out, and try NOT to check my work email (very stressful, since I'm not actually there to help out the students). More updates coming soon, and congratulations to Stephen Colbert, whose show just won four Emmy nominations (I don't know about The Daily Show, but I'm sure it received several as well). Long may you wave the flag, Stephen (and if you tumbled with Amy Sedaris and Paul Dinello, your "Strangers with Candy" co-stars, on your show EVERY night, like you did tonight, I would never miss an episode). I'll try to survive a night without Wendy's chicken strips combo and my Starbucks green tea frappucino while I'm away. As I said, I'm a creature of habit.