Another term, another class at Portland State, "Understanding Theater." A neighbor took it last year with a different instructor, told me he learned much from attending local theater and analyzing. From the catalog, "...dynamic relationship between theater and society..."
Turned out to be a little more. Besides attending three plays, students also had to write four pages of a play for the final. Turn it in before the end of the quarter (whiz by unlike semesters), prof selects several for students to produce. Challenge to face my ambivalence about doing more play writing. In my situation as a Senior Auditor, my play would not be in the drawing; I hoped to use the nudge to get going again.
Now a number of weeks have passed. The prof, a working theatre professional, has been distracted by work on a theater production in another city. Ended classes early after the first few meetings, had us meet in small groups to discuss our plays. Good news for me: began a new play. "Knitting in Public: PDX," another riff on earlier play, similar title, different location and theme.
First week of class, walking along Broadway, main thoroughfare that runs through PSU campus, I was surprised by this "mid-Century Craftsman bureau" crowding the sidewalk. Behind the "For Sale" sign--if you enlarge the first photo--is an electrical box that controls street-crossing. It acts as a message board and the plea here what is often posted, "Stolen Laptop." Reward of $2,000 indicates there's much valuable material inside. Hope it is not someone's PhD dissertation.
The class met in the newly-refurbished Lincoln Hall, the setting for Fine Arts programs. I went to the first seat I could see in the semi-dark of a small theatre space. Lucky for me, I plopped down next to Denise who could tell I was literally in the dark. She helped me follow our prof's unorganized style.
Those are her hands examining the drawers in the bureau above. She pointed out how each drawer was put together. The one with dovetail joining--right hand drawer--indicates it may have been a replacement. I wondered if someone might roll it away on its casters. Denise has an impressive background desiging commercial interiors. Out of work for almost two years, she decided to get another B.A.
Denise joined Ron and me at a production of "Dead Man's Cell Phone" by Sarah Ruhl. It was the last play we saw off Broadway before we left NYC. It is very funny--and dark. The script is a little too clever at points and the ending something like a Beethoven symphony with endings that are not the end. The acting was very good-- something we've been impressed with at all the Theatre Vertigo plays and readings. I suppose it's equivalent to "off-off Broadway" but not sure how that's referred to in Portland.
That play followed the Thursday afternoon I'd schlepped to class through the rain. Put many steps on my pedometer: a good thing. Small group of us waited about 30 minutes until someone entered at stage left, "Class cancelled." Think I'll not return. Need to research material on attitudes in Islamic societies about women wearing hijabs. Will spend my time at school..."independent study" it might read on my imagined transcript.
POST-SCRIPT: But wait, something was not quite right with my memory of the play. Googled the review in March 2008 New York Times. Oh, neither of us liked this this one and it was not our last play-going in the City. Mary Louise Parker (he likes, I do not) and Kathleen Chalfant (always a favorite) were in it. So what was the last play we saw? We both recall standing on line in Tribeca, nice July (?) 2009 day as we waited to go in. Sometimes the memory thing does make it hell to be old!