the wknd in reflection

went to JAW at pcs this wknd to check out (for free) some play bits in progress. only got to see 3 out of the five (1 on sat, 2 on sun) but left feeling satisfied – if by satisfied one means ‘not needing to see any theatre for awhile’. now granted they were in progress, ie you expect some rough patches, some inconsistency. what i didn’t expect was the gut-punch insufferableness of one of the pieces (the 1 on Saturday), which had me groaning by minute five and begging for holy mercy at minute seventy-five. In current incarnation it is an abomination I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. some lobby murmurs afterward confirmed I was not alone.

Sunday saw the storm large musical-in-progress and found it oddly compelling. I could give eff-all about her but the piece manages to kind of showcase her talents. it’s a straightforward narrative, easy to follow, plus the songs are pretty memorable. the piece suffers perhaps from cohering too stridently to biography but whatever. they have some time to work it out apparently….also Sunday afternoon saw “pony” by sally oswald which I completely dug despite not being certain I fully grasped it or not. I understand the spirit of it and that’s good enough for me. Heard people afterward grumbling about a vague ending but I thought the ending was awesome. strong acting too.

Elsewhere, Saturday night we went w/ B & C to Reed for the last night of the annual tin house conference. a celebrated writer was coaxed out of hiding to give the closing reading so it was supposed to be a big deal. Now maybe we were spoiled by last yr when TC Boyle read (he being seemingly engineered to speak hilariously in front of adoring audiences) but said celebrated writer was awkward, un-entertaining, and most depressing of all, read a piece that he announced as a trifle. In short, it was an epic flop. I can only imagine, had I flown across the country and paid $ to attend the wk-long conference like most attendees, that I’d still taste the disappointment.

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