Mar. 11, 2006
Velina and I got all dressed up. Zachery stayed with Finney's kids. I didn't know what to expect. I walk in, there's Gore Vidal. There's Buck Henry. Later Darryl Hannah showed up. The show went well, it's still coming together, but it seems to work. I've been doing this playwriting thing for a years now, but I've been an actor and director for a long time, so I very much see it from all three sides. I know it's a collaboration of artists, I know no production will ever be the way it is in my head. But this one is pretty damn close! The actors did an amazing job, and it was a really weird, wonderful feeling watching the ship of show finally cast off. I really never thought I'd get to this point with this show - there were a lot of events that threatened the project all along the way from the moment I finished the script and was then told to cease and desist as the book was not in public domain to having theatre after theatre not even read drafts I'd sent them to having the head of the Orwell Estate on vacation when Tim had to announce his season - which meant the production had to be put off for an entire year.
But here it is, and it feels like the right show at the right time. Now I just have to wait for the reviews!
But here's the strange part about that night:
After the show, one of the actors from "Embedded" is telling me a charming story about how she had just been diagnosed with Lyme disease, and Tim comes up - "Come on, I want to introduce you to Gore Vidal." Cool, I think. I tap Velina. "Come on, Tim's taking us to meet Gore Vidal." And there he sits, in the foggiest night I've ever seen in LA, outside the theatre, perched on a low cement wall, clutching his cane. Tim walks up - "Here's the writer, Michael Gene Sullivan." Mr. Vidal looks at me with piercing blue eyes, and we begin to have one of the strangest conversations I've ever had. Not good strange. Not colorful or odd. Not like a taste you can't quite put your finger on, but will try again. Oh, no - this is a flavor than only the insane would re-order.
I really don't want to go into it - okay, yes I do - but Gore looks like he still knows how to wield that cane and I don't want him chasing me down and beating the shit out of me with it because of something in a blogpost. And believe me - everything in our conversation gave me the impression he would do just that. Tim kinda backed out of the conversation when he saw the strangeness developing- said he had to go talk to a board member. I wish I'd thought of that. If you want to hear the story, you'll have to ask me. Or Velina! At one point I was pulled aside for an interview, and Gore and Velina had what was an even stranger conversation. (Ask her about Gore explaining to her why Black women call each other "Girlfriend.") I really missed Arianna. Brilliant!
So, we finished up the evening, (and I hear some body - and let me make this clear - COMPLETELY UNCONNECTED TO THE THEATRE) went out and did a poster hit all over town of these really cool posters, which I hear are available online at http://www.1984live.net -- that's the word on the street. Afterwards I talked to Tim about if he was going to rehearse anymore, and he said naah, they were open.
So that's it so far. Back to SF. Cousin drops us of at the airport, my friend John picks us up, and we're back, ready to plan Zachery's 3rd birthday on Tuesday.
What a trip.