This week’s C-Ville features my review of Doubt: A Parable, a play by John Patrick Shanley showing at Live Arts through October 11. The editors had difficulty reining me in so I did not focus my review on either the guava/vodka cocktails being served at the Live Arts concession stand or on the historical fact that Shanley also wrote the screenplay to Joe Versus the Volcano. If I had my way, the review would have been 20% Joe Versus the Volcano, 30% guava/vodka cocktails, 10% how good the play was, and 40% my byline. So way to go, editors.
From an earlier draft, my ode to opening night at Live Arts:
“What does it mean that Live Arts “forges community and theater”? For this reviewer attending the opening night of Doubt: A Parable by playwright John Patrick Shanley, it means that Live Arts’ artistic director [the dashing John Gibson!] personally reminds the audience to turn off its cell phones before curtain. It means that as the lights dim, people in the front row whisper about who they know in the production. It means that members of the lead actor’s Crozet Presbyterian congregation bought their tickets in order to get a better sense of their pastor’s extracurricular activities. And it means that after the play the whole crowd stays on to enjoy champagne [a nice complement to the guava/vodka cocktails] and pastries [yes, okay, yes] courtesy of Albemarle Baking Company and a couple local arts patrons. So that’s the community part of the forging. The theater part is first-class entertainment.”
You never know where or when the bride’s enormous ego will surface. Case in point:
“I just want a low-key wedding, Mom. Laid-back, informal, no-pressure. I don’t want to cave to the wedding industry with all its check-lists and up-dos and monogrammed water bottles.”
“Sure. Fine. We’ll just do family, a few friends. I’ll arrange some flowers from my garden. . .”
“Do we really NEED flowers?”
“I guess not. What about bridesmaids? Diamond rings? Crabcakes?”
“No way, Mom. I’m what’s called an enlightened, modern bride. I don’t need all the wedding foofaraw.”
“Okay. Well, you’ll need a dress.”
“Yes, and I want THE CHEAPEST WEDDING DRESS EVER. I want to be able to brag to my grandchildren about HOW CHEAP MY DRESS WAS. I want to flounce across the dance floor WITH THE PRICE TAG ON so everyone can see WHAT A GOOD SHOPPER I AM and how I didn’t BUY INTO THE SATIN PRICE JACKING that takes place at SNOOTY WEDDING BOUTIQUES. This December when I walk down the aisle carpeted in USED CHRISTMAS WRAPPING PAPER and CRACKED PISTACHIO NUTS, I want to hold a bouquet made of STORE RECEIPTS so my guests will be appropriately AWESTRUCK by my bridal bargain-hunting SKILLS. Suck on that, all you SPEND-HAPPY BRIDES trying on inflated GOWNS in your silky unmentionables. I DARE YOU to find a dress cheaper than mine. I DARE YOU. You will ALL FAIL because I am the THRIFTIEST PRINCESS and I will FLAUNT my ALUMINUM FOIL TIARA until all you BITCHES CRY.”
“I’m so proud of you, baby.”
When it’s been a while since I’ve written or created anything I can be proud of, I start to feel like I’m the most worthless person in the world. I feel like I never want to write again because I suck at it so bad.
Yesterday, for instance, I spent hours writing a miserable essay about David Foster Wallace and John McCain and moral authority and suicide which may or may not have proposed that Sarah Palin killed DFW with a fleet of grizzly bears. The post was live for a few hours when I received a very nice email from a reader saying (basically) “No. No no no.” And I appreciated this email because 1) it showed that someone was reading my blog; 2) it showed that some generous person considered my writing superior to that horrible post; and 3) it convinced me to retract the post (breaking my no-retractions policy for the first time, but for good reason!), which delivered me from a lot of embarrassment. Thank you, wise reader.
But now I’m left with this feeling again, this feeling of being the worst writer in the world. I haven’t been writing much at all in the past few weeks but I keep dreaming about writing: writing epic short stories, writing the great American novel, writing feel-good poems about cats. This morning I wrote something awesome while I was sleeping and my arm jerked out to receive a high-five. I immediately woke up to see my unslapped hand hovering there over the bed. I was mortified that I’d been left hanging, but also that my subconscious writer brain aspires to high-fives instead of Bookers and Pulitzers. Maybe I should have joined a sports team instead of starting a blog.
Last night Letterman described McCain as a “screech owl.”
Thanks to cVillain’s recent link, my blog has seen a 500% spike in traffic. It’s clear that I need to capitalize on this unforeseen fame by following up the turtle/toad/spider picture with something equally awesome. I don’t want to alienate my new fans who enjoyed the cute-tower-of-baby-creatures formula. That formula kicks ass. Why fix something that’s not broken? Therefore I give you the sequels to my triumphant turtle/toad/spider photograph (click on the thumbnails for the larger images):
Pig on Frog on Big Boy
I actually saved these losers from drowning in a bubble bath.
Pig on Monkey* on Chick
These doofuses were riding on a skateboard about to go over a cliff, so I rescued them.
*The monkey has not yet mounted the chick, but he is planning to after I wind him up.
Finally, my chef d’oeuvre:
Baby on Shark on Nativity Scene
These guys were actually about to perish in a chemical explosion, but I pulled them to safety just in time. The shark has PTSD but is otherwise okay.