Saturday, January 14, 2017
January 14, 2017
Received questions for an article on the Greensboro Fringe for a paper called Yes! Weekly. These are my answers:
Dear Lenise--- I hope I get all your questions answered. Night Music was originally a play about students killed at the massacre several years ago at Virginia Tech, but it soon became clear that incident didn't want to be written about, at least by me. What was working was the relationship among the three protagonists, so I went back and uncovered the play about that. My experiences on camping trips as a Boy Scout helped with the particulars of what one is hearing in a forest at night. Essentially, the play begins with two boys talking in their sleeping bags, and grows--organically, I hope--from there.
How would I describe it? Too many things that might mean. Let's say, on a genre level, it is a lyrical play, in some sense a memory play (like The Glass Menagerie) In which someone or some people explain their lives to themselves by looking at certain incidents from the past. It is a comedy with lyrical undertones. Is that right?
It is of course wonderful to win the New Play Project Prize (this is the second time I've done so; the first was several years ago with Saint Patrick's Well , which, now that I think of it, is also a lyrical memory play) My career as a playwright has, by and large, happened far from home, and it is lovely to get some regional recognition. I have worked less with Todd than would have been ideal (living as I do in Asheville) but his comments on and corrections of the text were right on the money, so I have been inclined to trust utterly his view on the play. We'll see on Thursday. . . .
Fringe Festivals are vitally important, not the least because they are fun. And-- I don't think you expected me to say this--they're far more important for the community than for the actual participants. They show what comes next, uncover the seeds of new societies before anything is rooted or full grown. When people go the Fringe in Greensboro they will be seeing The Accepted Wisdom of their Children. They will be seeing the future. The actors and musicians and playwrights will, I know, delight in showing the way.
On the health front– woke in the night with terrible leg cramps. Allowed it to become a moment of existential rage. But, I had gotten into the pleasant habit of having a bagel at the café each morning as I wrote. I had taken the news that there was no trace in me of celiac as a cue to go back to eating bread whenever I wanted. And– I did not put these things together– I had begun to take fistfuls of anti-inflamatories because it would take me about 30 hours between dosages to become–literally--crippled with the pain of inflamation. Went to the Internet and looked up “foods that cause inflamation,” noting that I indulge in most of them. I started by cutting out the morning bagel, and have eaten–except for bacon to flavor cabbage–vegetarian this week. It has been five days since I put an aspirin in my mouth, and I don’t need one now. Can it really be that easy?
The torches I set out are wonderful, especially the one beside the pool, shimmering and mysterious, moved by the moving waters.
Saw on the Internet a photo from Life Magazine, 1945, of a child walking down a road that was piled with the bodies of Jews murdered at Bergen-Belsen. There was a note saying the photo was altered to disguise the fact that the corpses were naked. This is the single most obscene detail I have encountered in my life.