My disembodied spirit glided high above the burning Arabian desert sand. The Palm Jumeira passed below me and faded into a mist as I floated out over the cool blue Persian Gulf. The air was perfumed with saffron and deep lavender, the warm desert sun prickled my back.
My wife flopped her arm over and punched my chest. “You’re late. Oh…wait. It’s Saturday. Sorry.”
She fell back to sleep within seconds because that’s her superpower. I watched the shadows on the ceiling change shape as dawn broke.
I recently saw a piece of avant-garde theater that was directed by and starred Ethan Hawke. I can’t say it was the Worst Play Ever, but the parts that I didn’t nap through were pretty bad. Vincent D’Onofrio, another veteran who should have known better, was also in it. There wasn’t an intermission, which I believe was by design so that the audience couldn’t escape. Me no get.
I can appreciate that actors want to takes risks and shake things up once in a while. I respect that. But my tastes are mostly pedestrian. You can take the boy out of Ohio but, etc. For me, experimental theater always looks like self-indulgent, ak-ting 101, scarf and beret-wearing nonsense. Other actors might understand it, but I zone out. I have the same complicated relationship with jazz. Some of it is very beautiful. I feel it in my heart. But some of it is just a blob of formless noise. Musicians showing off for other musicians. I try to keep an open mind. I love Waiting for Godot and that’s a pretty out-there piece of writing. [This fall Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen are doing Godot. Professor Xavier is Vladimir. Magneto is Estragon. Or, Captain Picard/Gandalf. Take your pick.]
It didn’t help that before the play I ate a pastrami sandwich that tasted like a rubber garden hose AND it was two below zero outside with a biting wind howling off the Hudson River and down 42nd Street. There are so many elements that factor into an actor’s performance.
And you thought you were having a bad day.
This is a dance piece. “Dance” is their term for it, not mine. I think it’s closer to performance art or theater. The Caravan Project was performed by kooky Japanese artists Eiko and Koma in a trailer parked in the lobby of the Museum of Modern Art. Stuffed with what looked like animal hair, debris and guts, the pair moved in super-slow motion climbing in and out of their lair. They wore what looked like mummified fabric and chalky, white make-up.
As usual, I have no clue what it all meant but it made me laugh. The best part was watching the horrified looks of patrons who unknowingly stumbled across it. This would have terrified my 6-year old.