The staged read of “The Bishop’s Eighteen Wives” that went down last night was actually a full-on production — lights, costumes, blocking, the whole bit. Ann Kuchins did a brilliant job in getting my play on its feet. About sixty people showed up — who the hell were they?
The final result, in terms of the acting and the direction and the blocking, was shockingly good. People laughed where they were supposed to. People paid attention. They “got it.”
But parts didn’t work, and the director and writer types in the audience were plenty blunt with their criticisms.
And what’s more: most of the criticisms were well deserved.
I sat patiently taking notes after the show, thinking, “Yes, that’s right… yes, that’s true… but how the fucking hell am I going to incorporate that into the script?”
But while tossing sleeplessly at four in the a.m., from between my ears, yet again I can hear the quiet voice, the voice that never sleeps, recombinating, reconstructing, rewriting.
Ah, well. Stephen King: “Only God gets it right the first time.”
She craved the perfect martini. He was on the prowl for a premium steak. Together they found… Satisfaction… at Bogart’s!
Shocked silence throughout the room. A dozen people: no one breathes.
Noel says, “Dissatisfied.”
Lance says, “Interrupted.”
Anthony says, “I feel like… no… he can’t end like that.”
Alex says, “Largely I didn’t get what I wanted. It’s like I got to do some of what I wanted, but I didn’t get it all.”
Sean says, “I’m having a tough time with myself. I’m Frank N Furter’s evil twin that just can’t seem to make it with girls. I mean, if he’s going to end up pervy in the end…”
Sheri says, “I had a bunch of sex and got away with it.”
I received this e-mail from George Sanger today, aka The Fat Man. He called it his “Daily Dedication for Artists and Workers.” I’m not big into republishing other people’s art here on johnbyrd.org, but in this case his words resonated with my current life. Here’s hoping they help you as well.
If it serves Creator, may my day be dedicated to bringing happiness to others.
May my consciousness be focused on work that will bring this about.
May the positive results of my work radiate to the Universe and help elevate all Beings.
I pray to have faith that work done earnestly and from the heart will have these positive effects. I pray to have faith that work done in this way is as good as any activity in which a living person can engage.
I do not pray that this work will result in praises for myself. I do not pray for material gain. I do not pray for a final product that I can hold in my hand, or that will last forever. I do not pray to know that I have progressed in my skill or wisdom.
I do not pray for reassurance that I have been wise in how I have spent my time.
I only ask for the blessing of a day of work, focused on bringing good to all Beings.
If the focus does not come, may I have the faith to know that the Universe has brought me to a better path than the one I had planned.
If, on the other hand, the day seems at its end to have vanished into nothingness, if it seems to have come up missing, to have been taken away from me, to have disappeared irretrievably into work, and that work seems to have disappeared with less effect than I had planned, with less seeming result, with less praise than I had hoped, and with very little reassurance that I have achieved something,
Then I pray for the faith to take these as signs that this prayer may have been answered, and rejoice in that!
I’m driving home from No Exit and chatting Valerie on the cell phone. “I hope you don’t mind if I tell you,” she said. “I have to pee.”
“What, you mean right now?” I asked.
“Yes, right now,” she said. “I’m going to go pee. We can continue the conversation, though.”
“No, wait a minute,” I said. “No, we can’t. You can hang up and pee and then call me back. It is a rule for men that no conversation will take place when anyone is peeing.”
“Oh, really?” she said. “Women talk when they pee. You’ll go into a women’s bathroom and usually the women will be having a conversation on the toilets. All kinds of personal deep-down details of their lives, communicated at high volume across the stalls.”
“No,” I whispered hoarsely. “That’s a lie… a damned lie.”
“It’s totally true,” she said. “Don’t men do that?”
“Hell no!” I shouted. “That’s unnatural! Men don’t have conversations at the urinals! Pee time is private time! You should never, ever talk to another person when they are peeing! It is just wrong! Peeing while talking is not to be tolerated!”
I hear the unmistakable sound of a toilet flushing.