A Note from the Bottom of the Inkwell

To live in a world of constant motion is to live in a world of ghost-references; you see myths-in-the-making everywhere. My sense-memory draws connections between images and careless words, between the simple experiences and the profound, between cities quite distant and those only just past, between the waking life and the dreaming, and all of these strands insensibly enweave themselves into each other. The kindness of strangers becomes remarkable, if only upon realizing how often one encounters it, ironically enough. I notice loveliness more often in its stranger forms, now. To the point where I seek what is strange in order to find what is lovely.

Right now I'm still living in my luggage. I'm living in the crawlspaces between the epic days, the clammy surfaces beneath the flush of sweaty adrenaline.

The Inkwell Communiques went quite fabulously, if chaotically and quite by the skin of one's teeth (see previous posts). I still can't really begin to write what it is about, even after having performed in nearly every incarnation of the Communiques since their conception. It involves fantastical characters that live in letters, while their author bears witness to the personal tragedies of loved ones, in the context of decades of cultural and political calamity. There is the enduring contest of whimsical hope against the dehumanizing, oppressive machinations of stultifiying wickedness. There were acres and acres of silk, and strange hats for the Circus characters, and an orchestra of highly trained, experienced and talented voices, the living work of world-class theatre artists pouring lifetimes of accomplishment into a teeming press of breakneck days.

It is truly and really a privilege to do theatre, both onstage and back-. Everyone should have the opportunity, at some point in our florid, fustive, tumultuous lives, to experience what it is to command and share a stage in a packed theatre space (packed spiritually as well as physically). Especially in the service of a Mentor whose work inspires and motivates you and your work.

But more importantly, to live in one's imagination is the most extraordinary gift theatre can give. The experience of theatre, whether in the audience, on the stage, or behind and above it, is to experience a world filled with worlds; the omnipresent implication of watching imagination made manifest is that we are all always adrift in a sea of imaginations, almost irregardless of our realities. I don't really know how to explain this. I can only dimly draw the picture of what it does to me, and ackowledge how much I owe my Mentor Randall.

While in Berkeley, I had the wonderful privilege to see Berkeley Repertory Theatre's production of Eurydice, richly enacted and wonderfully realized on a stage where water seemed to flow uphill, where an upstage elevator released floods, where the bathhouse tiles lining the walls were also letters from the dead. As the title implies, the play was a telling of the Orpheus myth from Eurydice's focus, and while some of the writing and acting choices I might conceivably quibble with, it is merely the affectionate quibbling of fondness. Eurydice was not a perfect piece of theatre, but it was certainly a moving and lovely piece.

Now back in Portland, I'm writing from a coffeeshop around the corner from my apartment, listening to Dion's rendition of Springsteen's Book of Dreams, and dreaming of those lush images from those several Bay Area stages. Eurydice's father dancing alone in the watery Underworld. In Inkwell, the Silk Sea cathedral-ing over Wolf and the Turtles. Pools of light in dark, empty worlds. Bridges peering over the mist in the Bay. I am quite enthralled in all of this.

as ever, more soon. best,



JJ-Wan Kenobi said...

When I read your beautifully written and vsually didactic postings I can think of only one thing: When are the Polyform action figures coming out?
Maybe the first wave can be armed simply with spears and rocks. As the toy line progesses (with the Hand 2 Mouth mobile, complete with flaming spring loaded rockets and Jimmy Blue pilot anchoring the 'attack' wave) the action figures can be armed with lightsabers and witty digressions (i.e. the phrase "It is truly and really a privilege to do theatre, both onstage and back..." married with push button slashing actions spells 'non-Wal Mart peg warmer, instant hit').

Perhaps an "Evil Republican Empire" toy line too, to offset the Polyform line? Just think how every kid will want to own the "Imperial Air Force One Arts Destroyer"...

You're sitting on a goldmine here Paul. Trust me, I'm your cousin.


The Lioness said...

I like your theatre world in that way we like what is remote and likely to forever remain so [I'm not so fond of the theatre, sorry, and that's maybe why I like hearing abt it so much, because were it not for fate I'd never know].

"To the point where I seek what is strange in order to find what is lovely." - and this, dahling paulmonster, is lovely itself.

paulmonster said...

"that way we like what is remote and likely to forever remain so" is precisely why I do theatre.

Pity that you do not care much for the theatre. But I would venture to presume that you simply haven't seen the good stuff yet. Or that you're an illiterate boor. And since the latter is less likely...