Notionpost 4: the reading and then, the debauch

The reading, on stage at The Gerding Theater, went very well. I think most of us were glad to be in front of an audience, and our collective juices were flowing. Aaron wisely kept the presentation of it very informal, with the actors strolling on stage at about five minutes, getting an introduction from Chris the artistic director, then launching in to it. Incredibly, it was the first time we had read the thing (all three acts of it) from start to finish since the first day. Aaron was pleased after, and I think we all felt that we had done productive work this week supporting the creation of this new play.

I got a nice boost by being asked by the associate artistic director if I was available to audition for a show they’re doing in the fall. I so wanted to say yes, but knew there was no way. Three months in Portland this fall away from my family, giving up more lucrative teaching work – impossible. Which brings up the question of being offered the chance to be in the actual production of Sometimes A Great Notion, which is in April ’08. I would love to, and while it’s not out of the question, it almost is. I wish it wasn’t. I wish we all weren’t struggling so fiercely just to get by. I wish it all paid better and was more consistent. I wish, I wish, I wish . . . .

The last night, a bunch of us went out. I don’t drink, so I was ringside for the dear old tradition of the last debauch, when the cast (and sometimes crew and director, stage managers and designers) go out and get hammered after the show closes. It starts out fun, but always begins feeling sad around midnight, when it’s clear we should all be going home, but we just can’t let go. Even years ago, when I was drinking and getting hammered right along with ’em, I felt the sadness set in. And it made me drink more. I saw this happening Thursday night.

My unrequited wishes are connected to this sadness, because after all, what are we really clinging to and not letting go of? The beer in our hands? The next round? No, silly. We cling to each other and to the thing we made together. We cling to the feeling of working, of living in the art we have been called to. We cling all the more fiercely because we all know that it may be a while before we have this chance again, and we sense the hollow moan of lives-without-art from the weeks, or months, to come.

Thanks Portland! What a gorgeous city! Thanks to all the wonderful Citizen Actors at work there, some I met and most I didn’t (Tim, our time will come!) Yes, I could live there, if wasn’t already living someplace else . . .