Saturday, July 17, 2010

Raised in Captivity by Nicky Silver... and More--Summer 2010


Generally, I look forward to the summer for all the reasons many of us do: no cumbersome clothing, no inclement ( read cold ) weather, fewer obligations, vacation. But this summer has been different than any I can remember in the past three decades.

I think the geopolitical, financial crisis creates an underbelly of uncertainty that I have not felt since the 60s with the Vietnam War, Civil Rights, and the Women's Movement all riping at the fabric of what we as a culture had known.

Then, I was in the vanguard--
an avid advocate for civil rights, women's rights, and, yes, a part of the antiwar movement. At the time, I lived in Washington, D.C. and would march from the Lincoln Memorial to the Washington Monument with thousands of others, my two year old son on my shoulders.

The current crises in our country, though, seem more cynical, even sinister in some ways. The Gulf oil spill, some Wall Streeters' penchant to find loopholes that cripple the vulnerable, --and even crazy weather recently with record heat.

It is all a backdrop to my world, I suppose--and all of ours. This summer, I have made the decision to leave Pennsylvania and reside in New York. So, I have the house on the market not because I am deluded into thinking it will sell as the Dow dips and spikes leaving the first half of 2010 with pretty much a flat return. But since I'm not interested in a fire sale, it is a start, a chance to get the word out that this little piece of heaven is for sale. It has forced me to begin shedding, peeling away 30 years of belongings, memories, family heirlooms ( too much for a New York apartment for sure ). So, I shred documents, read old letters from my sons, from lovers, from friends who have since died--and decide whether to keep them, put them in storage or pitch them.

This summer, I am ( to my surprise ) beginning a geriatric practice in New York advocating for those who cannot speak on their own behalf because of dementia or just the fragility that comes with advanced age to many. It is challenging and fun--the practice is well established by a veteran professional, and I am learning about the patient population she serves and their needs.

And, finally, this summer I am appearing in a play, Raised in Captivity, at the Producer's Club in New York on 44th and 9th. I am Miranda, the mother of adults children--twins--who have just returned from burying me. I raised the children solo ( as I did pretty much with my own sons ). In keeping with Miranda's persona, a real force of nature, she appears to the son, Sebastian, and sets about the task of straightening him out about the family secrets that she never revealed while still alive.

I love the play, love the part. Learning all those lines. Well, that's a challenge. But, the best part is that the director, Laurence Gerwitz, asked me to play the role. How could I possibly refuse when I was recruited by the director? The play, written by Nicky Silver (often compared to David Mamet ) premiered at the Vineyard theater in New York in 1996 and is all about redemption, forgiveness. Oh--and it is very, very funny!

So instead of a couple of weeks in Nantucket and a summer filled with long days of writing, this summer is filled with the busy-ness comes from the schlepping back and forth between Pennsylvania and New York to tend to the house, a new consulting practice, and Off Off Broadway.

But yesterday, I took a left turn from responsibility and order--and decisions about what to keep and what to save.

It was brutally hot. So at 6pm, I suggested to my longtime friend that we put on our Tivas to escape to the creek . We walked out my back door and went down to the stream the entire bottle of savignon blanc that I plunged into the gritty bottom to stay cool. I sat on a big, old rock while Terry waded to the deep hole that is the fishing spot for the blue heron that arrives every day. And for an hour, we commiserated about our tomboy childhoods and country beginnings in very different parts of this country.

No fussing. No kvetching. Just two friends laughing as the sun sends stippled light through the hardwoods, the minnows flit about between the mossy rocks, and the electric blue dragonflies land on overhanging foliage.

It is the kind of moment that keeps me hopeful in the "in between" time that is so much of life.

It was Zen. Pure Zen.


P.S. Come see the show if you're in New York--August 12 through 14, NYC. Producer's Club, 44th and 9th. 8pm. Tickets at the door ( $20 or so ) More later...

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