It seems I no sooner hop out of the skillet than I leap into the flames. It wasn't that long ago I was making my way uneasily on the stage in Louie Crowder's last play, Manje, which was really about more than food; and now I find myself embarking on Louie's newest play, a vodou drama called O Domine, Miserere.
O Domine, Miserere is about Pere Antoine and Marie Laveau, and there's not one single hurricane in its two acts plus an epilogue. Furthermore, my thespian shortcomings in Manje must have had some influence on Louie's thinking along other highways and byways, as well, because he's going to present this new play as a staged reading rather than a full-on production. So everybody gets to carry a script.
I'm working with two actors who were strangers to me until tonight, although they both posses what is called stellar reputations in the environs of our city's theatre salons. Please understand, though, they are not members of that throng of happy, peppy people who compose the exclusive "local theatre community" (sic) but are, instead, more radical, socially-conscious artists. They get grants.
She was lithe and gracious. He was courteous and self-effacing. Together they were charming and very kind to me. Age has its advantages. It has its disadvantages. too. I could not construe a word they were saying the whole evening, but I blame that less on my own hearing loss than on the concrete box that is Louie's apartment in that artists' collective he calls home.
Once we got down to the business of reading the play, however, I found I could not stop staring at the young actor's feet. He has such tiny feet. He was wearing boots, but they were tiny boots - tiny boots for tiny feet. How does one pass through the hurtling years from youth to maturity and leave one's feet behind? I spent all night when it wasn't my turn to speak my lines wondering about that. It's going to nibble at my cortex for the rest of the night.
But, hey, that's why I'm a confident director and an uneasy actor. I just keep noticing these things.
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