November 8th, 2008

there!, Hello

Baseballs Everywhere. . .

So, as the early celebration for my and hntrpyanfar's ninth anniversary, we decided to take in some dinner (Chinese, which we ate like two or three times a week, when we were dating/engaged/first married, but have sort of moved away from) and a show. Back to the Foothills Theatre, here in scenic Worcester (well, scenic if you like small city sights, anyway) to see a play called Take Me Out.

What a delightful play! Not for the subject matter, since the inner workings of a baseball team have never actually been of even remote interest for me (I was hoping for a Glengary Glenn Ross kind of view into a subject I remain blissfully unfamiliar with; alas this playwright was no David Mamet). In a nutshell, the play presents concentrated views of a handful of the players during a single up-and-down-and-up-again season, giving an inside view as to what makes them tick as human beings. From the superstar of the team (Darrel) who comes out of the closet (to much regard, sympathy, and conflict), to the "conscience" of the team (major narrator Skippy) who does not know how to shut up (often to his own detriment), to the Japanese pitcher (who does not speak much English at all) to the brand new relief pitcher (who has language problems of a completely different sort)... The emotions were pretty authentic, the characters are interesting to a point, the performances excel with the material (though the star of the show for me was a toss up between an endearing financial analyst, who develops a love for watching the game, delivering quite a few insightful monologues with a mix of whimsy and fervor, and the aforementioned relief pitcher, a Forrest Gump figure -- with all the shocking language from Winston Groom's novel, not the dopey Tom Hanks portrayal -- who manages to be both loathsome and sympathetic.

The real draw for me, when all was said and done, was all the manhood on display. Literal manhood here. Like, full frontal nudity manhood. In a culture that is terrified of the masculine form, but so eager to see the feminine, I found this show's bravery refreshing. In the locker room, men are not afraid to walk around nude (or maybe they are, what with the uncertainty surrounding the homosexuality bomb dropped without warning). I personally laughed when the elder gentleman in the first row had to move a few rows back after the first instance of nudity. And all the while, my internal voice was chanting: "Happy anniversary, dear! While other husbands offer up jewelry and chocolates, I give you views of lots and lots of johnsons and butts!"

While the play is not what I'd consider particularly noteworthy (it is a serviceable entertainment, offering up no less than five memorable scenes amidst long tracks of yawn inducing baseball fetishism), I am certainly glad to have seen it. Every now and again, I need a kick to the head (balls to the face?) to remind me of the strengths (and weaknesses) of the theatrical mode of entertainment.

Plays are the bridge between the novel and the television/films, allowing its audience both the spectacle of the visual along with the intimate portrayal of the internal workings (which moving pictures have yet to regularly successfully broach) and a strong attention to language. Viva the theatre.

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Yesterday, I managed to push out quite a bit of material, little in terms of new chapters. Instead, I fleshed out some of the sequences in the first two chapters, building details into scenes that were nice but ungrounded. A fight in a bedroom should not be the equivalent of combat across an open stage. I cannot get from bed to the bathroom in the dark of night without whacking my foot/shin/hip/&cetera at least three times. Why should my characters be able to prance about with Errol Flynn grace without the same sort of concerns? They shouldn't. Now, they don't.


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