Thursday, January 21, 2010

Struggle Plays Around

Since I've joined the ranks of the working girls (no, not THOSE kind of working girls, get your mind out of the gutter!), I've discovered something miraculous. While the daily grind doesn't just extend to my coffee, and while the work week can seem endless at times, one of the most amazing things about working, rather than being a student, is, with some exceptions, your nights and weekends are fairly free. Now, this might not sound that revelatory, but stay with me here. For the last 22 years, excluding the brief respite given by vacation times, my evenings were occupied, initially with piano lessons, play practices, vocal jazz rehearsals (am I painting a solid picture for you concerning both my dorkiness and my mother's saintliness?) and later, as the years went by, with part time jobs and meetings and always, through it all, the endless homework, coursework, paperwork and schoolwork, designed to turn the average human being into a pedantic philosophy quoting machine. Or, you know, teach us something. Whichever way you slice it, it took up most of my time, so between classes during the day, working in the evenings and chasing this elusive "sleep" creature all weekend (between drinking bouts. What? Not-Yale was tough!) , I pretty much kept myself busy.

But now that all of that is behind me (at least for the next few years) I'm discovering this amazing thing known as "doing things during the week". Wild and unconventional as this concept is to me, it seems to me that I may be a little behind the times on this one. For example my friend Jon, (hi Jon!) Has drinks and dinner dates with people all the time. When we trade stories about the previous evening, I regal him with tales of Netflix and Sleepytime, while Jon counters with exciting stories about his dating adventures in the Capital. Once I started asking around, it seemed that all of my friends had ceased to reserve their "out of the house" moments for the weekends. So I thought, why not?

Now, given my innate uncoolness and my deep seated need for sleep, I figured I couldn't do anything that crazy on a Monday that might mean I couldn't make it to work on a Tuesday. So body shots, Roman orgies and road trips to Washington were all out, (Sorry, Jon), as were assassination attempts on Latin American dictators were all out. (Just ask the CIA, that last one can take YEARS.) So what was a girl to do to fill all her new found time? The obvious choice, attend two different one-man plays about the lives of Truman Capote and James Baldwin, respectively. Duh.

The Maukingbird Theater Company is a small but prolific company here in Struggledelphia who produce work which looks at questions of sexuality and gender in a new and often striking way. I've seen a great deal of their work, and for a new company they are interesting in tackling some of the most disturbing and perturbing questions facing society today. Their current work is kind of a two parter, two separate plays, each a one man show, each with the same set, but each with a different subject. "Tru", a blustering and meandering 2 hour Odyssey, is told from the perspective of an aging Truman Capote, whose tenuous status in society is quickly plummeting due to his indiscreet, if acute, descriptions of the socialites and dilettante around him. "The Threshing Floor", a singing, zingingly tight hour long chronicle, probes into the life of James Baldwin. While Capote made a career of being the ultimate hanger on, Baldwin exiled himself from the United States in every possible way, I mean, the man practically put the ex in ex-patriot. Perhaps I preferred the piece on Baldwin because of my own recent regression to US soil, because of my own concerns, post graduation, post travel, post life as I've come to know it, about what to do next.

Or maybe I just liked it because it was shorter. Now that I know weeknights are an option, I'm going to fill them just as high as I can. After all, I've got 22 years to make up for. Just don't tell my choral teacher, okay?

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