markwilliams (markwilliams) wrote,

Bleecker Street

So there I was, in a bar on Bleecker Street, about a block away from the Gene Frankel Theater. In the basement of the Frankel, my play "Grizzled Bear" was being done as part an apocalyptically-themed series of one-acts.  I was talking about the play's history, with the director, who's around the age I was when I wrote it.

That writing occurred many moons ago, as a "warning" (to myself) about the eventual possibilities of economic and  environmental collapse. It's two people in a bar in Alaska, and the decision is whether they go out and try to save the last known Grizzly Bear in the world -- as a kind of statement, a stand, against the general end of things, or do they hole up in the back room, under the covers --together -- until the whiskey and canned food run out?

I hadn't seen the play myself in years. I'd been involved with previous productions (it's been done about 3-4 times), and was even in a production myself, as a younger fellow (playing an older fellow who was written to around the age I actually am now -- or perhaps a bit younger), inevitably falling in love -- for about three weeks, when it became apparent it wouldn't work out -- with the actress playing opposite me.

Her name was Lori, and she made an indelible stamp on her role -- discovering some lines, and some moves, in that production I later incorporated into the "finished" version of the play.

She developed cancer, and passed away a couple of short years later, and I think of her whenever I think about the play. It's supposed to be about the "future" -- and yet here it was, about my "history" as well.

And of course, it's still about stuff I thought we'd better "lick" -- like climate change and species extinction -- before they became huge problems in my middle age.


I'm going back to watch the play again this evening. In a small theater, where no one's really making any money, just doing stuff because they want to, or need to, or because the art matters to them.

All the reasons you start writing -- telling stories (in whatever form) -- before the apparatus of a "profession" surrounds it.

A re-boot of my writing life? Or the way it's going to be in tougher times?

Perhaps there are second acts in American -- and other lives. We just can't guess what they'll be, when the lights come back up.


  • Post a new comment


    default userpic