Wednesday, January 18, 2012

"It's Always Right Now, Until It's Later"

I didn't write that. Daniel Kitson wrote that. That is why it's in quotes. (Today is the day that websites like Google and Wikipedia are protesting the proposed legislation to censor and monetize the sharing of information online. Like many bills, these bills make it sound like you are a bad person if you oppose them (i.e. No Child Left Behind... no ones wants to leave a child behind). In fact, the titles of the bills don't fully do them justice: Protect IP Act (PIPA) in the Senate and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House. Since today is a day of awareness re: these bills I thought it was important that I use the quotes. Also, I believe in giving credit.
(My nephew Callum loves pirates which I was an eensy bit worried about until we went to see Peter Pan and I saw that in the version he was familiar with Smee rejects the violent and scary traditional life of a pirate for life in London with the Darlings.)
Right now I want to give Daniel Kitson a whole lot of credit. I saw his show of that title last night at St. Ann's Warehouse in Brooklyn and laughed and cried and thought about so many, many things. Despite the fact that it is one man speaking alone on a stage (albeit a stage brought to life with simple, beautiful bulbs hanging from varying lengths of red string (?)) telling the stories of two individual lives-- it was extremely theatrical. It was not a love story. He told us that up front. And the life 'stories' were not told from beginning to end nor imbued with too strong a point of view. Instead, Mr. Kitson described the ordinary and extraordinary events that make up a life. There was one point of intersection between the two of them-- but it was not a major event in either of their lives. They each fell in love, had children, had some struggles, and passed on. Their names were William and Caroline and I wept when Mr. Kitson described the moment each of them died. In fact, I felt that massive bowling ball heaving in my chest feeling at one moment, the love I had for Caroline had grown so big, and so full, and here it was being snuffed out. I really, really recommend you go see this show. It is very, very special.
Also, Daniel Kitson's present-ness throughout was exquisite and rare. When one older patron got up towards the beginning of the 4th quarter Daniel interrupted his story to say, "Oh, well, that's a shame." He was looking at the man but since the man was walking up the stairway and had his back to the stage and was probably trying to disappear anyway... he didn't respond. The front ofthe house then made a 'sad sack' kind of "awwww" sound, like they felt badly for Daniel. To which he promptly responded, "well, that's not the right sound." He went on to say he was feeling shame for calling out the poor guy who was leaving and he was mad at himself for doing so. It was very interesting how different Daniel seemed in his speech when he was performing very talking to us, for example, about the 'necessary bits of admin' at the top of the show. Outside of the story, or in moments of hiccup within the stories, he stutters. In the story, he speaks fluidly and perfectly. Last night he stumbled on the word 'father' (to which he commented, 'hmm, never had trouble with the word father before) and "ladybird/ladybug." Though he may have said something to suggest that that one was written in. Not entirely sure. And not sure I need to know either. Ahh, the great expanse of unknowing.
Will Eno told me this show was his recommendation of the year and I agree with him in the play category. My favorite musical of the year is Once. Which is opening on Broadway in March I think. Go see that too. It too is revelatory.
Also, thank you to Stella, Katya, Caleb, Jonathan Fielding, Michelle Stern, Ray Levin, Annie Baker, Amy Herzog, and Melissa Wells for sharing the experience. It felt good to share it with you.

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