Wednesday, December 11, 2002
Park You Car in Harvard Yard by Israel Horovitz, produced by LA theater works
This was labelled as a COMEDY, which is completely incorrect. According to classical definitions, comedy ends in a marriage. Tragedy ends in death. Well, this ended in death.
You make the call.
Perhaps we've progressed beyond classical definitions, and find death the funniest thing we've ever heard?
Probably not. But there were a few funny moments in this play. Mostly not, though.
It's set in Massachusetts, a place that makes me think of my friend Christy. She lived there for a year. That's the east coast, the OLD part of America. They have a sense of the social class that we don't have as well defined here.
Imagine! Your family being in one area for generations, and all of them doing the same sort of work. Dock work, maybe. Or some kind of unskilled manual labor. Having the same few miles that you know. And not knowing at all how to get past them.
I don't respect those sorts of boundaries, I consider them a dare most of the time. As in, "I can't? Who says I can't? I'll show you!"
Anyway, the high school teacher that everyone was afraid of, for years and years, is finally on his deathbed. He needs someone to help him. And this woman comes to be his housekeeper until he dies.
She is his former student, only she doesn't tell him that right away. Some part of her hopes he will remember, but knows bitterly that he will not.
They have more things binding them together, being in the same place for so long, than you would expect.
He is full of rage and regret at how his life turned out.
She is too. And she actually blames him for a lot of it. Her ticket out was education, but he flunked her and slammed that door.
I'm mad at him too, for her. He should have been a better teacher, and tried to help them learn. He should not have held the bar so high and mocked his students when they could not pass it.
I think he was trying to illustrate dramatically how SUPERIOR he was to them.
But she should have kicked harder against her lot, if she really didn't like it.
At the end, though, they were both in the same neighborhood, they both endured the same cold winters.
How different are we, really?
These two were quite similar.
He was trying to die, which is a difficult thing. She was trying to live, which can be much harder at some times than at others.
posted by Murphy 12/11/2002
Tuesday, December 10, 2002
Here I am, in a beautiful hotel in my former neighborhood. It was so strange, to leave from an airport that I have never seen before and arrive in an airport that is so incredibly familiar.
Taking trips, plane trips, were so out of the question when I was small. I had been on a plane once, when I was five. But the rest of the time, planes were as far away as the moon. No money, no open door, no flight path.
So, when I got older, flights were very possible. I am nervous in airports, but I LOVE to fly.
And I was excited to leave from Burbank, to find out what this new airport was. It is kind of disappointing. San Francisco airport, the one that I know, that I have memories and stories in, is much nicer.
And here I am, in the shadow of the Transamerica pyramid, in this beautiful, amazing, creative, energetic, sexy city that I love so much.
It’s not MY city anymore. I’ve never lived here. But I lived for seven years in the San Francisco Bay Area...The Bay Area…That means that San Francisco is mine.
Well, the first few years were full of unhappy memories. But the last few years were the best in my life.
It is hard to think that I am not part of here anymore. Here is very much a part of me.
I live in Los Angeles now. And I really do live in Los Angeles…I live and work right in the middle of the city of Los Angeles. I am part of the city.
But this city is not really part of me. I don’t have so many stories here. I am still trying to grok this huge sprawling city. I am bewildered and intimidated by the highways and the styles. I am trying to understand what I should be afraid of; who I should be afraid of.
Everyone says there are things to be afraid of here. “Haven’t you HEARD of Compton? Don’t you know about Watts? And East L.A.?”
I think it’s sad that I have to learn to fear like that. But I do know that I, one person, cannot change decades of segregation by ignoring it. I have to be smart.
It takes a while to get used to a new place. I’ve moved enough to remember that. I have more experience, and I know that.
LA seems like it has a lot to offer. I have more to offer too.
I’m glad to be out of the bay area. There were too many bruises on the map, even though I had shining moments and places.
I’m happy to be in a place that I can make my own, now that I have more of my own to make with. It just feels empty until then.
I guess I’ve moved from a place I’ve grown out of into a place I haven’t grown into yet.
posted by Murphy 12/10/2002