Boston, In Retrospect

Getting on the internet has been a bit more of a challenge than I thought it would be. One of Ms. B.’s neighbors has an open wireless connection, but it’s not very stable. So, I’m sorry for the lack of posts. I imagine I’ll be filing this one from the airport.

On Saturday, we walked the freedom trail, which was very cool. I have a bunch of pictures of gravestones and Ms. B. taught me how to use the zoom on the Butcher’s camera, so I have, happily, also closeup pictures of gravestones. We got as far as Paul Revere’s neighborhood and decided to have cannollis. They were delicious, but zonked us both out. We came home and took a nap and then it was off to see the show again.

One thing that really strikes me is how it’s such an important luxury to be able to see a show over and over, how the same actors in the same settings saying the same words can just really deliver entirely different experiences to the audience. For instance, there’s one of the plays, called “Magillicuty” (I will check the spelling when I have internet access) and the first night I saw it I felt like the ending didn’t quite work. Second nice, eh, liked it better, but still wasn’t one of my favorites. Yesterday, same play, same actors, same setting, same words, and the ending was so incredible that I, who had seen the play twice in a row before that, felt like I had been punched in the gut. The ending just shocked the shit out of me, and I knew what was coming.

Yesteray was the ASL-interpreted performance and again with the holy shit.

Y’all, I just want to say again that I have learned so much from this whole experience that I feel incredibly lucky. Incredibly lucky. I mean, every step of the way has just been incredible, from the help I got reworking the script to the chance to see the play multiple times with different audiences of different sizes to seeing it with the ASL-interpreters, which just blew my mind.

Let me just set the stage for you and you’ll see why I was just sitting there like “Oh, holy shit.” First, there were three interpreters. They were women dressed in black. There was an old tree limb on stage standing in for a forest in one of the plays, The women were sometimes near it. And then, they started moving and they were, themselves, giving a performace, using their whole bodies to help tell what was going on vocally on stage.

When the woman signed for yodelling, it was like watching someone enact a poem. She made the yodeling shapes with her mout and the sign for singing, but let her hand carry the melody away from her body in waves.

The laughs then, were also in waves, first the folks listening to the characters and then the folks seeing the interpreters.

But then, in the last play, which just did me in every night, one of the characters is talking about how her husband had to haul them up a tree, take a shovel, break them through the roof of their house and get them above the waterline and how they then sat up there, clinging to each other, while they could hear shouts in the distance.

This is an emotionally devistating piece of dialoge to begin with, but then to see the interpreter acting it out just seconds behind her saying it, it was almost unbearable. And then, when she’s taling about the shouting in the distance and the interpreter’s hands are just opening and shutting softly around her… I was like, this is one of the most amazing things I have ever seen.

I don’t know what I thought the ASL people would do. I guess I thought that they would just render the exact words the characters were saying into sign language, but instead, they stand to the side telling the audience a story about what’s just happened on stage. Much of it is dialoge, but a lot of it seemed to be descripitve, too.

And I kept watching those women under that tree, the three of them, thinking, if one had the right story to tell, you could make those women Norns. The one playing Skuld could be telling the audience what should happen (or what seems inevitable); the one playing Verdandi could be trying, in real time, to explain what’s going on on stage (you can translate Verdandi as “happenening”) and Urd (fate or happened–I know this doesn’t make sense if you think of fate being something that pulls you along, but if you think of fate as what pushes you based on all past events, it becomes clear how fate and what happened are entwined) doing the translation as normal.

Anyway, my point is that this has been an amazing learning experience for me that I can’t believe it’s happened for basically the cost of a plane ticket and some running around money, which, as you recall, y’all helped me get.

This has been such an amazing experience, and I am so grateful to all of you who made this happen. I literally could not have done this if it hadn’t been both for the generosity of the readers here at Tiny Cat Pants and the folks here in Boston at Queer Soup and I feel very fortunate to have been the recipient of that.

Oh, hey, and yesterday we went out to this awesome graveyard in Jamaica Plains and saw Anne Sexton’s grave and e.e. cummings’. Funny enough, his grave is in all capital letters. Also, we saw this grave that looked so much like a penis (even moreso than John Hancock’s grave) and after realizing that it was flanked by two round shrubberies, we decided that it must have been on purpose. I tell you, nothing predisposes you more to like someone than the idea that, even in death, they can find humor.

It’s raining now and I’m feeling a little sad about leaving. I’ve imposed on Ms. B. just about all a woman can impose on another human being and I have inadvertently become the love object of her dog and so every arrival back here has been an adventure in just what of mine the dog has eaten or carried off. Yesterday, apparently, she spent the day with my dirty underwear.

Also, on the plane, I read this awesome book which I cannot remember the name of–The Witch of [some London neighborhood]–by this Brazilian author. Do any of you know what I’m talking about?

Anyway, it doesn’t matter. I’m just procrastinatng because to finish this means to start packing which means to leave Boston, which means the end of one of the most bizarre and wonderful and surreal and amazing things to have ever happened to me. And, as much as I’m looking forward to getting home and seeing my dog and catching up with the Professor and getting ready for the arrival of my parents (well, maybe), I really want to hold this in my heart and not forget how wonderful it was to see something I wrote brought to life like that.