A couple of nights ago a bunch of friends came over and we spent 2+ hours talking about the kinds of moments that turned our heads, made our hearts and/or brains swell, and stuck with us. We talked about the final moment from The Office (British edition) Christmas Special, parts of Young Jean Lee's Lear, Cromer's Our Town, or bits from dance, music, books, poems, etc. We are theater artists trying to define our interests and focus as we form a company-- but we were also just re-counting great moments of storytelling. Moments that balanced humor and depth, sincerity and imagination, and carried that favorite of mine-- the element of surprise. Moments that felt totally true, but were somehow also more than true, more than just 'normal,' 'regular' kitchen-sink life-- because they were theatrical. Kate talked about the cultural day when she was visiting the middle school with the other sixth-graders in Kansas-- and the Swedish woman performing the African dance had lost her top. Her breasts kept popping out-- and no one had known how to respond-- and there was this giant gulf between people's impulses and behaviors and teachers were trying to be adult and the kids didn't know if it was a cultural thing or what... And how interesting that was. I'm sure I've gotten some of the details wrong but it was very funny and also precisely the kind of thing that I find fascinating and entertaining.
This afternoon, as a little gift to myself I listened to the podcast of last week's This American Life. It is a great one. Three brilliant acts, Mike Birbiglia, transgender children (and I'm just finishing Middlesex), and love. I strongly recommend it. The whole thing.
This American Life
374: Somewhere Out There
Of all the 6 and a half billion people in the world, what are the odds that any two people are a real match? Stories from people who know they’ve beat the odds, and the lengths they’ve gone to do it—including an American professor who sings Chinese opera for anyone who'll listen, to get one step closer to his mate, and two kids who travel halfway around the country to find each other and become best friends.