Update: Did Not Actually Get Eaten By NYC

Kinda fell off again there awhile.
My bad.

I’ve a few months worth of distance from my trip now, which wipes away some of the gloss and the fog and adds a nice layer of perspective; still wouldn’t trade it all for anything. I definitely wouldn’t want to live in New York, but damn if I don’t want to get my work there in the near future.

The rest of the trip after the Day One recovery was split between museums, galleries, endless walking around Brooklyn and Downtown, more than a few instances of nearly getting lost, a passerby politely offering to sell me coke in the Village after a night of live jazz (and holy fuck the jazz!), conversations with total strangers in a cinema bar, and Hamilton.

There’s still nothing I can really say about Hamilton. They have all the words on that stage. I have none. I didn’t mob the theatre doors after the show angling for an autograph, but I did manage to snag an extra copy of the program, which I mailed to my grandfather, who’d always wanted a bonafide piece of New York city. Well, now you do.

After making the trek back, I stumbled right into the final rehearsals for my own show. Smaller black-box theatre, small cast, beautiful folks. Our run came and went and it felt good to be back in the thick of things. Cut to several months later and the summer is riding high, new projects are cooking along on all burners and I’m about ready to shuffle off from the city again for awhile. Instead of heading back to the grimy glorious heart of America, however, I’m aiming straight for the middle of nowhere, where I’ll have the time and the opportunity to stare out across an empty expanse of stick-thin trees and open gravel roads without hearing a single damn siren unless someone’s fireworks show gets really out of hand.

More to follow. Coffee now.

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On the Subject of Fall, First Reads and A Lack of Lattes

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For the life of me, I’ve never understood the appeal of pumpkin spice lattes. Maybe it’s just that you’re paying five dollars to access those fragments of family dinners you had when you were younger. Maybe you hated pumpkin with an absolute fiery passion as a child (I know I did) and you’re now only trying to atone for the snubbing of your grandma’s pumpkin pie all those years ago. She forgave you, of course, because sometimes these things are an acquired taste, like wine or jazz or olives or 6AM mornings on sniffling crowded busses headed to do something unsatisfying for eight hours.

Putting on plays was an acquired taste. I didn’t have the stomach for it early on, nearly choked when the curtain was rising on Rum and Ritalin, a collection of interwoven shorts I threw together during my first stumbling semester at college. They had to drag me out of my dorm room, emptied bottle of Captain Morgan clattering down to the floor, to ensure I was there to see this wobbly aircraft do cartwheels over the audience before sticking the landing just so. We drew tears where we didn’t expect to, and when I was hauled up onto the stage to take my bow I finally got it, like the first decent glass of wine you drink that doesn’t come from a box or a ten dollar bottle and sets you down a path towards keeping old favourites in your fridge door where the milk and ketchup ought to be.

We had our first read-through the other day of the new play, Deadmonton, the spiritual successor to Sea of Green that swaps the political idealism and bloody shouts for something darker still. It’s a play of secret hearts, knives in dark places and desperate love. Where Sea of Green was bombastic and yelled to the rafters, this one whispers from the corners. It’s a smaller cast too, shrinking the mob from my last piece down to a pair of unusual lovers with unusual habits, and pits them against a world we only catch glimpses of.

And I’m nervous. I haven’t directed a play in years, much less produced one. I can already feel the tired sensation in the back of my mind as we lurch forward, the notion that once again, yes, you’ll be spreading yourself too thin and you won’t notice until you’re already see-through. Nights dissolve into stage directions and budgets, venue squabbles and dousing forest fires with garden hoses, a slow burn of stress.

An acquired taste.

Let’s see what kind of damage we can do.