Friday, July 4, 2014

Rehearsals continue for THE GUN SHOW, here in Chicago

Through the Looking Glass.  04 JULY 2014
“I know who I WAS when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.”   (Lewis Carroll - Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass)
My guts hurt. They've hurt for days now, a low ache that makes me want to curl up under the covers. 

It's not appendicitis.  It's not cramps. It's not that I've been drinking too much coffee during the day and booze at night (though, you know, maybe that, too.) It's that I've been clenching those muscles tight since rehearsals began on Monday afternoon.

This play cuts a little close to the bone.

It's a strange thing to work on.  Kevin Christopher Fox is my director, for this first ever production of the play.  Juan Francisco Villa is my actor.  (Don't they have wonderful names?)  They've been troupers.  This is a public story -- THE GUN SHOW -- but it's also a private story, and they are hanging in there with me for this oddly intimate exploration of what guns mean to us here in America and what guns mean to the three of us there in that room and what guns mean to me.

Juan is playing me.  Sometimes, during the show, he talks to me, where I'm sitting out in the audience.  (I love the theater, where the most complicated things can be magicked into the most simple things.)

Kevin said something to Juan the other day, in rehearsal.  He said that when Juan looks at me, for him to think of it as looking in a mirror, since we are the same person for the duration of each performance.  That felt both surprising and deeply right to me.  It's been so strange to watch Juan wrestle with my demons.

I am a relatively emotionally contained person, generally speaking.  Carefully bottled up, one might say.  But this play is pushing me to let go a bit.  A lot.

Some moments I want to flee the theater, and some moments I want to cling to the guys, and some moments I don't want to be touched.

I'm trying to sit in my chair and not be distracting.  Because we are there to work on the play.  It is my job to be the playwright in the room, to take notes and give notes, to support and encourage and guide, to let Kevin work with Juan, as they bring my little play to life up on the stage, working all their own magic.  To be professional.

So the clenching.

It'll pass.
“The time has come," the walrus said, "to talk of many things: Of shoes and ships - and sealing wax - of cabbages and kings.”  (Lewis Carroll - Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass)


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