Monday, August 23, 2010

Blowing Through The Jasmine In My Mind

Saturday morning we had song-and-dance rehearsal at the park, and everyone was in good spirits. The grand finale of the show is starting to look--dare I say it?--kind of polished, and people aren't forgetting the lyrics as much. Also, there was a funny moment when a dude with a beard walked up, dropped his backpack with our stuff, and silently joined the circle. When we all looked at him expectantly, he said "Sorry I'm late." After some more expectant looks, he said "This is tai chi, right?" Um, not so much, but I guess if you're going to stand in a circle at the park, you better be prepared for people to join it.

I made one ginormous (as Jarrah would say) mistake that morning, and that was asking my castmate Yolanda for a ticket to her OTHER show, playing that night. David decided to save us babysitting money and stayed home--man, that guy is smart. When I arrived (late, because there was no parking, and I mean NONE, I had to drive up the street and park at a dark, dark Baptist church) I was surprised to see a mini-crowd of peeps from my theater group, including my two most recent directors. I had been warned that there were actually TWO plays with no intermission in-between, making a subtle get-away impossible, but there should have been other warnings. The first short play didn't make any sense to me (a gang of women from the late 19th century standing around in period costume yelling about things) but at least Yolanda herself was something to write home about. The second play featured two teenage boys making some sort of deal to become related by growing up and going into business together, living next-door, and forcing their eventual offspring to marry. That was the first scene, and I found it VERY promising because it seemed utterly, totally demented. I can get with demented, so I looked forward to further absurdity unfolding forthwith. Little did I know (until I scrabbled around for my program) that this play is actually FOURTEEN scenes, many of which feature two actors on cell phones on an empty stage, and the rest pivoting on in-depth discussions of what sorts of furniture to buy. I noted that somehow--heaven help us--all this was going to culminate in a discussion of the Holocaust at the end, but I didn't make it that far. When intermission finally arrived (we'd been captive nearly TWO HOURS at this point) our entire group beat a hasty retreat, and I mean RUNNING for the door.

The whole way home, I shook my head and marveled that an entire theater--actors, producers, directors, ticket-takers--got behind this show, thought it was worth the time of the cast and then the attention of dozens of unwitting audience members. I started thinking that I really need to start writing some plays, rent myself a theater, hire a bunch of bright-eyed young things and put on a show or ten. Because, why not? Clearly, you don't need much more than a dream.

Yesterday, we had a barbecue at Jarrah's new school, sponsored by the dads' group (it's actually called DADS, but I can't remember what that stands for) and despite the punishing heat, it was really fun. There were lots of sign-ups for David to commit to building rockets with kids, and I can tell he's THRILLED about the upcoming "Dad and Daughter" camp-out at the school, wherein he will be expected to sleep in a tent on the lawn with the young one while I'm being fanned by eunuchs at home.

From there, we had only a small window before heading to Hillcrest for dinner at the home of my friend Eric's parents, in a fabulous pied-a-terre with a huge terrace on which we supped. I haven't seen Eric in a long time, but he wanted to meet Jarrah, so he smartly invited a gang of their neighbors from the building, including a couple with a six- and three-year-old. Jarrah and the girls got along famously (natch) and even put on a show for us. Eric doesn't do anything half-way, and had cooked a massive feast including lamb curry, dahl, cucumber and carrot salads, potatoes, peanut noodles, saffron rice and the biggest fruit-and cheese display I've seen since the Bridal Bazaar. I contributed blueberry cupcakes, and everyone was kind enough to eat them. The guests were either very polite or actually interested in the 48 Hour Film Project, so I had lots of stories to tell. It was the perfect summer evening to feast outside and make new friends.

Today I went to see Eat Pray Love, since I know that David has no interest and I did so love the book. It was entertaining and beautiful, though I've read several reviews describing Julia Roberts as "gaunt" considering she just sits around and eats for four months. And I know I'm supposed to find Javier Bardem irresistible and all that, but I think No Country For Old Men ruined him for me. I kept waiting for him to pull one of those bovine air guns from behind his back.

I should also mention that I just finished a lovely book, The Pull of the Moon, by Elizabeth Berg. This was one of those rare novels that I craved instantly, where I couldn't wait to get into bed at night to get back to it. For one thing, it alternates between an epistolary and journal structure (letters to the narrator's husband, and a diary chronicling her road trip) and I loved the back-and-forth between mediated information and total confession. Plus, she's a woman just past menopause (no, I can't relate to that part, but I can imagine it), bored and restless, married with a just-grown only daughter. She hops in her car one day and just starts driving aimlessly, staying in random little motels and writing in the evenings. Some of her realizations were so familiar that I felt a little afraid, like How is she inside my head? Particularly when she talked about aging and what that feels like. Anyway, if you like quiet little books about marriage, parenting, writing, travel and spontaneity, you will probably like it, too.

6 comments:

Caroline said...

You sold me on the Elizabeth Berg book. Not so much on the play, although I agree it had promise at first, and I'm curious what on earth that had to do with the Holocaust.

Hope Jarrah loves kindergarten!

Stephanie said...

The book sounds awesome, glad the play is coming together.

Anonymous said...

Love this post -- not only the fun family update but a play, movie and book review! :) The play sounds like torture and reminds me of a similar experience of tedium that was only topped during the intermission by someone jostling me vigorously enough for me to spill an entire cup of coffee down my decolletage. Somehow all the coffee just disappeared down there, so when I said "hey, watch it," all the jostler saw when they turned to me was a pink-faced gal with an empty coffee cup. Then I had to sit through the rest of the show with coffee bra. Glad you could make your escape (coffee free!) :)

Anonymous said...

PS. Last comment was mine -- forgot to sign my name -- Lix

Sam said...

@Lix: Okay, that was a good first-thing-in-the-morning laugh. Sorry about your poor decolletage. :)

I could have used some coffee to stay awake, though. :)

Aunt LoLo said...

Heh...I would have loved to see that gentleman join your little circle in the park. ;-)