December 13, 2004
‘Tis the Season…

From the evidence of our Weblog, between September and December we’ve done absolutely nothing. Well, not quite.

It’s been a blur. Very little performing, but lots of work on the infrastructure. Some of that’s been literal Bishop/Fuller householder stuff hiring people to do a new roof, gutters, drainspouts, and a new wall furnace, while ourselves finishing two long, long, long drainage ditches, sanding & repainting the garage door, scrubbing and sealing our decks, a vast amount of weeding and reseeding, and sanding & priming 90 ft. of a steel fence, with 30 ft. to go.

Thirty-five years of performing and producing does, in a way, prepare you for this stuff–that long haul from writing the first page of the play to taking the curtain call two years later–but it’s not my cuppa tea. Money has been very tight, and we considered selling our house–only the second we’ve owned in 44 years of togetherhood. This, of course, led to a walk-through with our realtor, listing all the stuff that needed to be done. Fate intervened, and we found a very advantageous refinancing deal, plus one of those recurrent tides of wide-eyed optimism, and decided to stay. But the list remained.

And the result, actually, is fine. I hate doing the work, but I love the result: just making something better & beautiful & whole. It’s like that moment when you finally get the timing right on a line you know is the funniest thing you ever wrote but it never gets a laugh. Suddenly, bells.

Meanwhile, the work of this so-called Independent Eye goes forth.. The radio show is ever a joy and a screaming deadline. Our ten-minute version of Alice Underground, “Rabbit Hole,” set a record of the world’s most complicated bit of audio, but it’s a gem. Our novel Realists is now completed and starting the long process of accumulating rejection slips. We’ve confirmed a collaboration with Sonoma County Repertory–our downtown Sebastopol theatre-on-the-corner–to produce our new play¬†Drake’s Drum in September 2005.

And we’re continuing workshops at Foothill Theatre in Nevada City, doing rewrites on our play Long Shadow toward a May 2005 production, which I’ll direct & Elizabeth create the score. Foothill has an exceptional ensemble of actors, and we drive the four hours out every month or so to spend two days working & experimenting. And they’ve accumulated an impressive string of grants to support this production–we have a hunch it’ll make waves.

Well, the election. We don’t normally advertise our politics or our spirituality, but in this case we did send out about 1500 emails and 120 personal letters expressing our opinions, with nearly 100 responses–pretty remarkable–with only one mildly disagreeing, one passing us wide on the far left, and one saying they never want to hear from us again. So what can you do? Keep working. Tend your garden. Join hands.

Strange things are borne from earth tremors. We’re just completing a series of meetings with about 19 people altogether, in preparation for … well, the name escapes us right now. But it may be the Hitchhikers Ritual Cabaret, or Church of the Open Mike, or simply the Cauldron.

It’ll be in Sebastopol. It’ll be once a month. It’ll be an open-mike variety entertainment, but with a difference. As a circle, with exceptionally talented people taking turns with people who just want to tell a story. A sharing rather than a presenting, and a lotta time for mixing & mingling. More and more, for us, we believe theatre and story-telling should take place in context of a great party.

And we also feel that ultimately the political advantage will turn to the bunch who give the best party. They can’t get too drunk or stoned to drive, and they can’t lose their keys or their shorts. But finally the word will get around that it’s just a lot more fun to love your neighbor than to bomb him. If that be frivolity, let us make the most of it.
** Conrad