Sunday, October 2, 2011

They too are tenants

It’s been a hard week. Danielle has had to do a lot of sorting through options on the  boiler and it's never ever apples to apples. Also a very complicated financial sorting through with Woodshed to figure out who owes whom what.  Plus pressure to get out adeqaute publcity on the Forgiveness series. And she’s had to do a lot of this on her own. She  has learned, day by day, everything one needs to know about boilers. 
Late in the day I  meet my friend and colleague Pastor Elise Brown from Advent Lutheran at  Popovers. Our real focus is on the boiler situation and what it is going to take to raise the money necessary to get the boiler going. She continues to be completely with us on this issue.  We talk strategy, how to get the religious communty behind West-Park in getting the community to fulfill it’s promises.
Elise and I go into the church and I accompany her down to the bar and  prepare her for tonight’s performance of the Tenant. I feel very torn. I’d like  to stay with her, experience the show with her, hear her reactions, but it is also the first game of the American League Division Playoffs beteween the Detroit Tigers and the  New York Yankees. And I’ve got 5th row bleacher seats . So I tell her how best to enjoy the show and head to Yankee Stadium to meet my fellow Presbyterian, John, with whom I share tickets.
After one and a half inning, score tied at one, a steady rain is falling. After an hour, the game is suspended. I subway back to the church. Too late to catch Elise, but in time to catch tonight’s after show performances as the actors once again share their best scenes with each other. It’s pushing 2 am before they finish.  
Once again, I feel privileged to have been able to share in this experience.  And I’ve realized some things. One, in the six plaays that are going on simutaneously, occasionally intersecting, virtually every actor has at least one moment to shine, at lest one monlogue, aria that stretches them to their fullest capacity and beyond. These moments are matched by paired moments, duets in a way, two actors playing off each other. As they watch each other performing  these moments, there is nothing but admiration, respect and support. No sense of competition. Rare among actors, they have truly become a community. Fulfilled the vision of the Woodshed Collective. 
And there’s another realization. Within these stories, with the exception of Trelkovsky, the outsider, in spite of the madness, the crazy edge, there is a dramatic moment  in each of these realtionships where something approaching real love is shown and shared. In spite of, despite, all.  As Judith said to me, want my character to be more than crazy. I want to show that she truly loves her daughter and that this love is real. And at the dramatic climax of their relationship, her daughter returns that love with intensity.  
And with that, even in this intense, dark play of midcentury French alienation, soemthing profoundly human is expressed. Something that leaps across the courtyard and touches the residents of Capital Hall who lean out their windows to catch the scenes in the courtyard below. They, too, are tenants.  A reality that many mainstream critics have missed. 

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