Tag Archives: drama

My Fault…

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I thought I could go back to bed and lie there for a bit without incident. So, technically, I suppose it was my fault. But I heard everyone helping each other get breakfast. It sounded peaceable.

So, forty glorious minutes later I walk out. The weather’s perfect. It’s sunny. Even the introvert in me is charmed.

“Let’s go to the park,” I say, “Shoes on.”

At this moment in the hallway the little guy passes me holding a spoonful of milky cereal in front of his belly and marching into his bedroom. Curious, I follow him. Then I watch as he stops, calculates, throws said cereal onto the carpet, touches one foot on top of it delicately as if to evaluate his success and turns, I’m assuming, in order to get more.

Well, I stop that nonsense and on the way to the kitchen with the spoon I notice several other arrangements of cereal on the floor and realize this is an installation piece, probably entitled “Scourge of My Mother”. There is also one very wet towel lying in a square on the floor.

“Hey guys? What’s with the wet towel? Did he have an accident?”

“No, Mom, he spilled a cup of milk,” said the eldest.

“He did it on purpose. And it was my milk,” said the girl.

Mixed media.

(There are many moments like this when I’m glad I don’t have a nice place. I can’t stand how my kids treat my two-bedroom rental. What on earth would I do if they treated my dream-house this way?!)

I proceed into the kitchen. And the baby has tried to make a smoothie.

Here is a picture of that baby:

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I sigh and scrap my plans for the park. I place the baby in the tub (the only place he will remain contained) and wipe counters, do dishes, unload dishwasher so I can load dishes, start laundry from last night’s pee debacle(another long story), scrub and baking soda a square of carpet, sweep the kitchen, vacuum and four hours later it’s nap time and I’m sucking down coffee and eating some Go Diego Go cereal. For some subliminal reason I wanted some.

The first baby, that’s not anyone’s fault. You’re naive; you’ve never had a baby. You don’t know. The second one, well, that’s not technically your fault either. You and your husband have seven siblings between you. Let’s blame family culture. But three, well- the third one’s on you. You asked for three. This is on you.

Left Undone…

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“Is that why you do it?” my husband asked.

I had gotten a large envelope from a friend who had found a few things of my fathers in a work file. His large handwriting looped smaller where he had run out of space. There was also a script and a program from a play he had done when we had been living in Florida. I had said something under my breath about wishing he were here to ask him about the school play.

I considered my husband’s question. Do I do drama because my Dad would be proud, because he would do it, because he’s not here to do it anymore?

I remembered after he died how I tried for a month or two to get on top of all the marketing for his self-published book, how I vacillated about painting the last bits of his painting. Something in me was a-flurry to finish what he had left undone. I still struggle with the idea of leaving things undone; but shouldn’t an artist, if they’re doing it right, be still working on something when they die? I had to stop. I didn’t have the heart necessary for the marketing. I left his painting to the few base layers of hue that makes it still, to this day, rather, a misty suggestion of a landscpe.

I decided I wouldn’t have been able to continue with drama fueled solely on the love my father had for it. But it was a healthy process to realize where some of the credit is due. My love of drama is my own but the habit of drama is something that has been built into me.

As I told the students in rehearsal, “A successful painting is interesting to look at. A successful sculpture is interesting to look at from every angle all the way around. A successful play is interesting to look at from every angle all the way around throughout the entire play, a sculptural collaboration of artists existing in a single moment of time.” I doubt the elementary students quite appreciated the image, but it explains what I love best about theatre.

I have never known a time when my Dad wasn’t rehearsing some production, when there weren’t curtains and call times to be planned for. My early years are marked by my sneaking backstage and begging to be onstage. My later years are marked by productions of my own and the productions I missed (My brother’s Nathan Detroit and his narrator from Our Town! It still stings a little bit to think about today.)

It feels natural to be on the roller coaster again. I do it because I love it. I do it because it’s a gift to give others. I do it because it’s a habit of creation that was built in me by my father. And I do it because it’s a habit I want to build in my own children, his grandchildren.

I miss him so much. But new things, even piddly little things like elementary school plays, are still coming out of his life.

And as far as actors go, my little one is showing promise… 😉

Morning Commute…

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The city, of course, puts you among people. And in the city you have to be a little richer to buy space between you and your neighbors. The less you have the more you are squeezed out and among the general populace. One great example of this is turning out to be my morning commute.

For example, yesterday I left my apartment and began walking the one and a half blocks to my bus stop. As I near the crossing my bus flies by me. I begin to run. If any aged ladies are getting on the bus I have a chance. So, my backpack is “fwipping” back and forth in that most ungraceful way we all remember from high school, my toes are trying to hang on to my cute little work flats, THEE pair of work flats, and I realize I’m going to miss the bus. At this moment some kind stranger looks up from his handheld device, notices that I am hurrying, panicked, frenzied, and then, and then (!) makes like he’s getting on the bus. He pretends to step up, he vacillates, glances forward at the driver, and steps off as I run up. “Thought that would give you enough time,” he said. “Thank you!” I said. I was on the bus! Way to go humanity.

Now, the church offices are off a lovely street called Van Ness. It happens to be a wide street and one of the main thoroughfares funneling homeless citizens toward the center of town where reside most of the “product” and the services. The five block walk to work can be, therefore, occasionally eventful.

As I’m walking the five blocks towards the offices I am paused at a crosswalk across from a colorfully dressed woman. Now, I have just finished reading an article on the new Japanese decluttering craze that judges a keeper based on joy and that’s what I’m thinking about looking at this woman, that she is dressed for joy. Every item is a different color bright against the others, artfully arranged, I smile. It isn’t until I notice the teddy bear clutched inside her arm that I also realize that this outfit is probably more appropriately chosen by my four-year old then a middle-aged woman and her teddy bear.

But I’ve been looking at her from behind my sunglasses too long. As I pass her after the light turns green she mumbles under her breath, “Keep moving bitch.” I stopped. “Are you talking to me?” I said, “Because I was just thinking…” Now, this is the part where I am going to tell her all about the new Japanese decluttering craze and how she looks like she dressed based purely on joy. Remember I have been bolstered by humanity just moments ago. But she opens her mouth and proves that there is no joy in her. I am raked over the proverbial coals. I AM the f…ing bitch. Osama bin Laden is mentioned. I’m laughing and smiling awkwardly as this woman continues on her way cursing me over her shoulder. Two cars slow down as they turn the corner to lean out their windows and ask if I’m alright. The neighbor outside his mechanic shop said, “So, I guess you got her wrath.” “Is she a regular around here?” I ask, “I’ve never seen her before.” He shrugs.

I have seen her since, trundling down the street, dressed in joy, with a mouth full of curses. Would you believe that the last time I saw her Osama Bin Laden was mentioned again?

Humanity, you contain a lot.

Mother Mary Easter Monologue…

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I was there at the start. Jesus was my firstborn son. Before his blood was spilled for me mine spilled for him. Before his body broke for me, mine tore for him. My son. His life changed mine first. I was the first miracle.

And how could I be under the delusion that he was mine? Angels announced his birth to shepherds. A star led kings halfway around the world. He was for Israel, for the world.

But who would believe? Doesn’t every mother think her first-born walks on water? So I treasured these things in my heart, storing away the portents.

I was there when every prophecy came true, born of David, coming out of Egypt, of Nazareth in Galilee. Every truth buried here (heart).

And when we lost him in Jerusalem… For three days we misplaced the son of God. “Didn’t you know I would be in my father’s house”, the words of God from my son’s lips. “He is not yours precious Mary, he is mine. Remember he is mine.”

We waited thirty years for his time. And then it came in a flood. Miracle by miracle adding testimony to the years of evidence, here (heart).

Hadn’t I always believed, me, the first apostle? He was the Messiah.

Never mine, not from the beginning. He was God’s to spend.
But when they nailed him… When my son let them nail him to the cross…

I watched him die, in agony, under a criminal’s shame. If his father above, Creator of the heavens, feels a shadow of my pain why does he not save him? Why?! I cannot bear it! I’ve changed my mind, God, select another. Must I bear witness to this, too? My heart is full, Lord, my heart is full!

I spent three days in a mother’s grief. And then we went to dress my son’s body for the last time.

There’s nothing that gets old about seeing an angel. I’ve seen two in my life. The first told me I would have a son. The second told me I had a savior.

Would anything less than falling at his feet, feeling the warmth of his life, the strength in his hands, his glorious smell, would anything less prove my son’s living to me? My heart is full, Jehovah God, my heart is full!

I had a lifetime, my son’s lifetime, of proof giving testimony. The Messiah had come. Death had been conquered by one sacrifice for sin for all time. Israel’s need had nailed him to that cross. My need had nailed him to that cross.

He was my son, he was my savior. He was never mine. But he was for me.

An Easter Dialogue…

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And a frenzied murmur began in the darkness. Come awake! Christ is risen! Come awake! He is risen indeed!

I wrote this for church a few years back. It’s a dialogue or, really, a mesh of two monologues of Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus. I was intrigued by their parallel stories in connection to the cross. Both of them were followers in secret, until the cross. And, then, when everyone else was hiding in fear the two who had been hidden came forward.

Happy Easter!

Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus Dialogue:

Nicodemus: It was Joseph here who went to Pilate for the body.

Joseph of Arimathea: I’m a Council member from Arimathea. Nicodemus helped.

N: I helped to prepare his body.

J: I’m a man of position, quite successful in what I do.

N: I’m a man of belief, and traditions, the rabbi of a nation.

J: Jesus came at an inconvenient time for me.

N: It was an inconvenient time.

J: If I had been younger…

N: In my more revolutionary days…

J: There would have been less at stake.

N: It would have been easier to seek him out.

J: But now I’m enmeshed. I have responsibilities; people depend on me for their livelihoods.

N: A people watches me for guidance, for surety of their faith.

J: His apostles were thought of as crazy fishermen.

N: My peers had already labeled him a heretic.

J: I feared, yes, I was afraid what that stigma might do to my situation.

N: I couldn’t lead others astray with my misplaced approval. I had to test his words for myself.

J: As it was, I followed his teachings in secret.

N: So it was, I looked for him in the night.

J: I believed in Him. He was the Messiah. He gave flesh to the law in his words, with his actions.

N: That conversation with Jesus, things that I had understood for so long became confusing. It was a
paradigm shift of the most severe kind.

J: I wondered if a time would come when I would have to stop hiding.

N: I wondered if there was a day when I would finally understand.

J: Then I heard the news that he’d been imprisoned.

N: They demanded his crucifixion. It was Passover.

J: Everyone was there. I was there. I have money. Some powerful people owe me favors. Surely there would be something I could do? Something somebody would do?

N: Then they lifted him up on the cross. And it all came clear. What he had said to me about Moses’s snake lifted up on a pole in the desert that those who looked upon it might be spared their certain death.

J: Why?

N: Because the Son of Man must be lifted up. I was being spared my certain death. I wanted to shout, “Look on him! Look on him!”

J: Look on him.

N: And I believed.

J: He died.

N: And I was born. Born again as he said, not by flesh but by spirit and into a life that has no end.

J: His friends feared. But someone had to take care of the arrangements. So I stepped forward.

N: This time in the daylight.

J: I claimed him.

N: I brought myrrh and aloe.

J: They were calling the cross his defeat.

N: My fellow council members were satisfied it was over.

J: But I had found boldness there.

N: It had made all things clear.

J: And the best news was still to come,

J&N: Three days later.