Sunday, June 27, 2010

Subversive Shorts Bee Lineup, AKA "A"

With a start, I realized that I should have been up in Toronto where all the real subversion was happening last night. Too late. I've been preoccupied with family matters, and numb to the world stage. Our own Seattle right around the corner, where acting up can make a difference. But then I watched a burning police car via over-the-Internets video and it looked so Canadian. Almost as if they have no interest in fanning flames of provocation. According to Michael Moore, they don't even lock their doors. And the cops with batons were equipped with bicycles, of all the crazy stuff. They were probably dialed in to the subversives' Twitter accounts. No-one looked very guilty. Not even the police. We're such hosers down below.

Subversion gets no satisfaction these days, and there are still unaccountably scant audiences down at the Theatre. Which only means that there's more room for YOU. These shorts are good!

I can't quite agree that this "A" or "Artaud" lineup is better than the one I saw last week. These short one-act plays were certainly engaging, but sometimes veered in the direction of a Saturday Night Live skit, which was what I fell asleep to last night, literally. Well, it was a re-run, so it wasn't technically "live", but it was live once! (Eat meat, it's what's for dinner, though you should eat stuff which was alive and not in industrial feedlot simulating life, as I learned the other time from the "B" lineup) It could just be the venue which keeps the crowds at bay - I'm pretty sure that if you threw these shorts up on a television screen, or a YouTube say, audiences would howl. Buffalo-born has made the world stage before!

Real theatre (sic) is face to face in a way, although I think if the actors were to make eye contact of the sort real people do they could never quite do the incredible job they did here last night. These actors were *in* to their roles. What a pleasure!

To run them down - not like police do, but like reviewers do - there were middle schoolers acting like adults negotiating gender politics as on the world stage of trade negotiations to our North (I might have my scale and venue mixed up). There was a traffic control disembodied voice posing as a very masculine God. There was celebration of the quiet choices of the abused women of the world, stood in for by an offstage silent smiling nun of ones imagination. The sister act-ed by a gay woman celebrant of absent judgement toward dronish subservients in a patriarchal structure of abuse which hardly becomes the Universal Church of Men. There really were bees composing Genesis, with some gender role reversals. Well, all you have to do is to imagine queens and drones and this was funny honey. Sweet. A Boorish banker opening an American do-gooder NGO-sponsored eco-tourism mecca down in South Africa with ironic twists. I mean, talk about ironic! You don't even know.

I don't know if life imitates art, or if the other way around, and how come it all coheres if only in this one mind, but each play plays on the others and on reality, so-called, and there's microcosmic shift which might be enough. It always has been. Did you think the world could change its mind all at once?

I'm not kidding, this was good stuff. The first short was acted out by students at the Performing Arts High School Magnet (another Buffalo invention), which is surely harboring some talent. Some good teaching. Some almost unbelievable presence on stage. The monologue by the gay sister of the sweetly innocent nun was performed so convincingly that I felt as though she stood for everyman, liberated, constrained, uncertain, freed, holding back from judgement herself, though she had every right to toss firebombs. On the model of silent women the world over who need honoring, but not, you know, worshipping.

And really, you should see actors channeling bees looking down on us humans-without-awareness. Divided as we are from the continuum of life. Genesis. Exodus. Who knows how the world will change? One awakening at a time? Person to person? The bees really are telling us something about our mono-culture, I mean the real bees, the ones we depend on for our pollination and our lives, and, um, I think we can't live without them, no matter the buzz down in South Africa which drowns out the thoughts of superstars. We didn't project our dreams on that screen this time, did we?

Right before the show I installed a new battery to the supposedly irreparable iPod my daughter's cat accidentally showered. People camped out all night to get the latest of these false presentations of seamlessness, interfaces without any way in. Willing to overlook flaws at the cost of a fatted service contract, as though they never crash. I will not refrain from opening smooth exteriors, you know, certainly not because I've been mesmerized by Word or words or acting.

The place where I bought the iPod battery represents a mission to protect landfills from poison superannuated electronic gear by demonstrating how easy it is to repair. Yeah, I know I'm being greenwashed, but, well, still I'd rather watch live theatre than participate in staged protest, and the "genius bar" just tells you they don't fix these things. I'm no sucker for guys in robes representing some mysterium.

Who knows how the world will change? The only thing that we do know is that it will, because the math doesn't work out the way we're going. Why not start here? Why not now? As my friend and I were walking out there was a full red moon just above the treetops, over the low buildings of this supposedly dying city. Now I just found out that I'd missed it's eclipse. The moon's, I mean, not the city's - for that I've been fully present. These menstrual pulls cannot be gainsaid by my manly artifice. My head was turned, as was God's, on stage, by flesh. Hey, I'm human. I'm implicated. She was hot!

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