Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

15 August 2004

First Meetings & Ladies Undergarments

I went to see Garden State this evening with Jaime and John and this guy who came along named Michael Jordan.  He's a cute, straight, white guy who wants to be a TD at a university theatre and who studies at UC Riverside.  It's so funny how charming I can be sometimes.  This guy liked me almost instantly and I don't even know what it is that I do.  I mean, this guy was really sweet-natured to begin with and very nice, but I surprise myself.  My image of myself is that I'm shy and retiring and I don't really like people all that much, but then I'll meet someone and they will have the exact opposite impression of me and they'll take to me instantly.  How can someone I've known for all of four hours--a straight guy, no less--feel comfortable enough with me to say that he would date me if he were gay?  Really.  Whew.

Garden State has held up.  The movie is incredible.  I got things I didn't get the first time.  I looked at the sets more.  I cried this time.  Those three people screaming into the abyss is one of the most stunning images I've seen in a film in a while.  And goddamn the soundtrack is good.

I am writing on this thing because I am waiting for Brittney to come over.  She is staying with me for the rest of the week, or so it seems.  But it's late and I wanna go to sleep.

Some Intimate Apparel Spoilers

I wanted to talk a little about Intimate Apparel, the show I saw yesterday at the Taper.  It was an interesting show, I guess.  I didn't think it was nearly as bad as dlamp thought it was.  It definitely had its problems, though.  There's no getting around that.  For me, those problems had to do with the direction.  The director had no feel for the material.  Length, for me, is my biggest thing right now.  You don't know your audience if your first act is an hour and a half.  You just don't.  And the play could've been cut.  I counted at least two speeches that had nothing to do with the action of the story.  The amazing actress who played Mrs. Dixon had this lengthy tale about her mother's washer-woman hands, but this monologue served no purpose whatsoever.  I love the actress; she was wonderful in King Hedley II, but this monologue needed to be cut.  And the direction felt heavy-handed to me too.  The play isn't the subtlest piece of theatre I've seen to begin with, but the director told us all about the lesbian thing with Mrs. Van Buren way before the playwright did.  Why?  And I felt like the moment when Mayme produces the smoking jacket was wasted because the audience anticipated the whole thing.  There was no shock value at all because she had to cross all the way stage left.  As she crossed left we all said to ourselves or our companions, "she's gonna bust out that smoking jacket."  Instead, she could've said "look what he got me" and then instantly busted that jacket out and we, not having time to think, would have gasped like we were supposed to.

The play is a rerun of the only other Lynn Nottage play I know, too.  Are we not sick of this "black men are the enemy" theme?  I am, but I guess Lynn Nottage isn't.  The plays of Dael Orlandersmith explore the complexities of the black male from a female perspective so much more interestingly than Lynn Nottage.  Ah well.  Viola Davis was incredible, though.  The audience stood for her.  Her work is so amazing.  I think what I love most about her is her physical approach to the work.  Her body is so different in each of the roles I've seen her in.  In this play, her body tells the story so much more than her words.  She acts with her whole frame, and it's just fascinating.  I didn't get to see Russell Hornsby.  The understudy played the character of George Armitage.  A shame too.  The play would have been much more interesting if George Armitage had been played by someone sexy like Russell Hornsby.  Instead, I was totally turned off from the moment I saw him.  I know, I know.  I'm the most shallow person you know.

A friend of mine sent me the greatest email today.  It felt good.

Brittney's here now.  Off to bed.