Last evening, I went to a performance of The Bouffon Glass Menajoree at The Green Room. The three cast members were all terrifically talented playing their outrageous characters. I was impressed watching it in the audience and was laughing more than I am prone to doing while watching a performance, enjoying it quite a lot, its absurdity. In the last part of the play, a spoof of the Tennessee Williams one, a gentleman caller is plucked from the audience to play the part of Jim calling upon Laura.
I had been nervous from when I first arrived at the theater, realizing that this was part of the performance, fearing that I might have been the person chosen, not wanting to have to get on stage. Of course, it happened anyways despite my desire not to do it, probably for that reason. The guy mentioned that I looked like Jim before moving on to some other guy and choosing him as Jim. This Jim was having too much fun in the part, upstaging the crazy cast somehow, smearing banana on Laura's paper bag head. Eventually, he was seated and they brought up their first choice for Jim, me. I got to observe the cast up close, interact with them, and it was very weird and I was a bit nervous and said little. I did ask for a beer though and thankfully was provided with one.
I danced with Laura and then was tricked into kissing her, at which point the family came out and demanded that I propose to their daughter, that a kiss in the South meant marriage, and then went through a long monologue about their family, the Wingfields, versus them, the audience, "them" said so disparagingly. I could join this ragtag family unbound by society's norms and conventions, or I could go back and join "them," (a word which whenever they uttered they would spit upon the ground, driving home the point), a them of boring convention followers, of the people in their seats watching, and not the people doing things, being watched. I had never seen or read the original play and didn't know what I was supposed to do, did not want to be like the other Jim and take too many liberties with their play. I wavered for a bit and then decided to join "them," scurried back to my seat with the beer, uncomfortable on stage. The other Jim jumped up on stage again to marry Laura and the crazy family exited the stage.
Upon recalling this now, I worry that there may be some symbolism in my joining "them", the audience. I, however, have plans for this next week, a schedule, to make sure that I am one of the Wingfields, metaphorically of course, that I am a creator and not a consumer.
I am back in New York. It feels like home and yet doesn't in other ways. I am beginning to think that there may not be such a place, that I will always feel a bit unconnected, a bit rootless. Also, I have a mustache.
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