Monday, May 05, 2008

Let's Pretend

Still Playing: "Draperies Over the Windows; A Curtain Hiding the Set"
Curtains hide things. The outside. The sun. Light. The way out--or the way in--depending on whether you're in the audience or an actor behind the curtain. The veil. There is a distinction between draperies and curtains. Draperies drape over things. Curtains hang down from rods. Draperies drape over the rods the curtains hang from (from which they hang--Somerset Maugham said a dangling preposition was the sign of an amateur writer of the worst kind). Draperies don't necessarily hide things. A drapery over a piano doesn't really hide the contours enough that you can't tell there is a piano under whatever is draped over it. A curtain truly hides what's behind it. Curtains on windows hide the windows when they are closed. Aha, draperies are pulled aside but curtains are opened. Yes, OK, I am playing with words again--I am a wordsmith--yesterday a playwright--like a wheelwright--a crafts person--playing with words, assembling them into dialog, dialog that sparkles and then dulls and then whines and then trumpets and then declares and then threatens and then screams and then shows signs of inebriation or a good beating--ah the stage! [Scott Fitzgerald believed using exclamation points was the same as laughing at your own jokes.]

Curtains hide action. Is it true that Shakespeare had teams of writers back stage at the Globe, including himself, writing the next scenes as the first scenes were being acted. Shakespeare passing the pages down to the cuemaster in the little box on the edge of the stage calling out
the lines, directing the scenes, with Shakespeare himself hollering directions and lines from stage right or left--was Shakespeare superstitious? Of course he was. Luck has been with us since the beginning of this play we call existence--some soap opera talks about the sands of time in its lead in--and soap operas are good examples of continuous plays being played out; like several soap operas are 50 or 60 years old, the older teevee ones coming from radio soap operas--i.e., The Days of Our Lives; As the World Turns; General Hospital. I once tried to live with a soap opera actress--beautiful creature--took direction well too from a man, a man she dug at least, and she attended classes with Sandy Meisner--classes with Uta Hagen, too--what a scary woman Uta Hagen was after she got vintage and ghoulish--skin like white tough old leather that's been shined to look new from a distance but is so obvious up close. That's why high-density teevee and film are going to ruin that pure image most Americans have of whatever celebrity they think is the handsomest or the sexiest or the most beautiful--it's gay I guess to say a man is beautiful--I would feel funny telling a man he's beautiful--hell, my male ego even makes me feel funny telling a man he's good looking--Jesus--I don't think I've ever told a man he was beautiful or good looking--nope, I can't think of one time...but telling a woman she's beautiful--hell yeah, I feel as proud as a stud lion telling a beautiful woman how beautiful she is. But plays were meant to be seen in wide-angle view, you know, like a chess board set up for a game, all the pieces in place on the board, the board, the stage--the platform--all identified in my mind with wood, wooden structures--the Globe Theater was all wood--stages are wood--sets are made of wood and canvas--sort of has me thinking temporary now--and plays are temporary--like teevee shows (plays)--Playhouse 90--and isn't that word "playhouse" interesting. It's all leading back to childhood. We are shot out of the womb right onto a stage--and God-damn, the curtain's up and the play's already begun and shit you have to gallop over toward where Will's standing to find out even what the hell character you're playing, "Hey, Will, I just got here; I've not acted yay a day as I before thee now stand." And Will bores you with, "All the world's a stage, me boy, and don't ye be forgittin' it now, you hear? Now get out there and play a fairy." "A fairy? What the hell's a fairy?" "You are, now act starry and impish and cutesy wootsy...go on, I have faith in ye, me boy." Sorry, my imitation of Shakespeare leaves a lot to be played with. Maybe I should quote Shakespeare as Prince Harry--God how I despise Prince Harry and Prince William--oh and God how I despise their mule-kicked-headed father and their stable-boy-bangin' mom--I despise royalty--now I'm gettin' my Shakespeare down, being or not being and walking around before the curtain goes up asking all kinds of position questions and timing and where the hell's that flask I brought with me? And I tried living with this soap opera actress but actresses are so much actresses they're never really anything else, certainly not who you think they are, even when you're living with them and knowing their history and their real names and their frustrations and defeats--always defeats for actresses, everyday defeats--and that's why they either become better and better actresses or they go to Hugh Hefner and beg him to pay them big bucks to take their clothes off and show their pussies [in the original Playboy philosophy, yes, a naked woman meant open arms but closed legs--airbrushed out pubic hair. The first woman to show her pubic hair in Playboy was a gorgeously built black dancer named Paula Kelly who while dancing across the centerfold of a Playboy you could see it--those thick curly black thick matted hairs forming a black triangle at the Y, shaped like an arrowhead pointing down toward what counts with a beautiful woman--and Elizabeth Hardwick is kicking me in the shins for being seductive and betraying at the same time--typical male actor. Ironically, it was Hef's daughter who approved opening the legs when she took over the magazine way back when--and that's when Playboy started showing open, though as Playboy sex-maniac photogs say, "showing tastefully open" vagina--though not "hold it open" shots like the low-life semivulgar Penthouse or the absolutely filthy Hustler--those mags are jammed full of gynecological shots--"Wow, look at the uterus on that babe!" Men like women showing them their vaginas--the ultimate thrill of the tease--the thing that makes men cum in their pants, the clothes coming off (on stage), then the nudity, then the getting down on the stage floor and spread-eagling in patriotic display the Holy Grail of all men who are men--I mean, I suppose one could backwardly think of a man's cock as a extremely long clitoris! And the sex was fun as hell with the soap opera actress but after the sex was over and she was laying there healthily snoring away, her makeup off, her face looking like a little naive girl's face in the moonlight being shoveled in by the black night through our bedroom window--and in the morning she was a full-blown actress again.

What's going on behind THAT curtain?

Slick Willie (his sparkling grey hair all afrizz; his powdered up paleface looking perplexed): "Hill, dammit, quit you're god-damn worryin'--ain't no way an N-worder's gonna beat you, sugar."

Hillbilly Hillary (looking a bit draggy, worn, especially around the eyes (bags); also looking perplexed): "Oh shut that sugar shit the fuck up, Slick. I followed your advice and god-dammit, that son of a black bastard is still beatin' my big ass."

Slick Willie (with a twinkle in his still-baby-blue (Contacts?) eyes) "Aw, shucks, honey, I love that ass; that's my ass, ain't it, Hill, honey?'-ere, wanna see my speckled dick?"

Hillbilly Hillary (turning away from the Slick One with disgust): "Get out'ta here, I haven't given you any since that Monica Jewinsky bullshit."

Slick Willie (the twinkle still burning brightly): "I'm your man, though, you know that."

Hillbilly Hillary (meanly looking at the Slick One but crying at the same time): "You're not half the man Vince Foster was."

Slick Willie (with vindication in his twinkling eyes): "Oh boy, here we go with the Vince Foster BS again--see what happened to him don't ya?"

The curtain falls on Act 1--short and sweet. A play for two. Two playing with each other's egos. Actors and politicians have the same egos--politicians are actors--they work from behind felled curtains. They work in secret and then come out on stage, the curtain goes up, and then they act out their scripts: "Today, I want to announce that we have declared war on the nation of Blah Blah due to some child-like drawings coming into our hands that definitely prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that Blah Blah definitely is building superbombers capable of delivering massive weapons of mass massive mass-like destruction, a Mass of Holy Destruction, and whooooooo we gotta be afraid of these Blah Blah terrerists--why, I think I hear one of those superbombers headed for New York City now--hey, Unka Dick, I'm headin' to Omaha, Nebraska, baby--you goin' to your bunker?"

We the People are the audience sitting there like goons in the dark when the curtain goes up the window opens and the play begins.

Let's play. Play ball! Players be seated. The play's the thing. Let's play house.

The house, the playhouse, the tree house, the doll house (a play).

for The Daily Growler

No comments: