That It’s 2015—
When I was a kid just learning arithmetic, I added up years to see what year it would be if I got to the age of 70. At the time I figured that’s about how long you could live. I seem to remember I had some trouble going past 2000 — I wasn’t sure you could do that — but finally I came up with 2011. And now it’s 2015. That seems amazing, in fact four years past amazing.
Ten weeks till the first round of King Lear, and we’ve had the good fortune to have a screaming deadline. We have an excellent publicist for the San Francisco run, and with an excellent photographer, we could try to meet deadlines for media that have long lead times. Which meant that set, costumes, puppets, lighting, and us, all needed to be in readiness. Thanks to a vehement assault on the work list, it was. Now, at least, our final-week panic will be focused on other things — our performances, little stuff like that.
This will likely be the last “big” production we’ll do, unless some other theatre comes along with an irresistible offer. (We’ll hopefully keep it in repertory along with Gifts and short pieces until we croak, but our energies are going more and more into prose fiction.)
Oddly, it holds the same terror for us as our very first Independent Eye production, Song Stories, Chicago, 1974. That was a hodge-podge medley of sketches, songs, poems — all our own stuff and just the two of us. We were in process of a move to a vile Chicago basement apartment, no money, a toddler and a babe in process, and CB with a serious hypoglycemic condition that took another eight months to cure. The night before opening, the theatre burnt, so we premiered the show next week in a tour gig at Beloit College.
We’d worked for five years with our first ensemble, Theatre X, with extensive touring in a wide range of styles, so we weren’t rank amateurs. But it felt as if we were going out on stage stark naked. After the show, we just lay together in our guest room and mumbled, “They liked it. . . They liked it.. . .”
That was a different sort of fear — we had to earn a living with it — but this approaching piece tastes much the same. Will we succeed in juggling all the lines, character shifts, tech cues without major screw-ups? Even if we do, will people remotely go along with the performance style, the claustrophobic staging, and the blackness of the play’s vision? Unquestionably, this feels like the greatest risk we’ve ever taken, other than marrying each other 54 years ago. But a necessary one. Stay tuned.
Our new edition of Rash Acts, a collection of our short dramatic sketches from more than 45 years of touring, has been delayed by printer’s glitches. But we’ll have copies shortly and will do a pre-publication offer to our mailing list.