30 September, 2018

I Walked Past a House Where I Lived Once by Yehuda Amichai

I walked past a house where I lived once:

a man and a woman are still together in the whispers there.

Many years have passed with the quiet hum

of the staircase bulb going on

and off and on again.

The keyholes are like little wounds

where all the blood seeped out. And inside,

people pale as death.

I want to stand once again as I did

holding my first love all night long in the doorway.

When we left at dawn, the house

began to fall apart and since then the city and since then

the whole world.

I want to be filled with longing again
till dark burn marks show on my skin.

I want to be written again

in the Book of Life, to be written every single day

till the writing hand hurts.

16 September, 2018

I've Been: Summer, 2018

green tea ice cream in Kyoto
  • DC
  • Bethesda
  • Lennox, ma
  • Nashua, NH
  • Fairfield, CT
  • San Francisco
  • Osaka
  • Tokyo
  • Kyoto
  • Hong Kong 

Seeing Theatre:
  • Snow Child at Arena Stage
  • Head over heels at the Hudson Theatre
  • Theater J
  • The Lifespan of a Fact on Broadway
  • Messiah and Beautiful Garden at the Takarazuka theatre in Tokyo!

Watching Film and TV:
  • Won’t You Be My Neighbor (i saw it on the plane and wept)
  • Better Call Saul
  • The Man in the High Castle
  • Sisters on Netflix
  • Black mirror
  • A-typical
  • The Five
  • Shakespeare: Uncovered

  • The end of the affair by Graham Greene
  • Mating in Captivity by Esther Perel
  • astrophysics for people in a hurry Neil DeGrasse Tyson
  • Famous father girl by Jamie Bernstein
  • Far From the Tree by Andrew Solomon
  • The light of the world by Elizabeth Alexander
  • The people’s tragedy Orlando Figes
  • Emma by Jane Austen
  • The butterfly effect by Jon Ronson
  • The coming storm by Michael Lewis

  • Seeing national monuments
  • African American history museum
  • Reading on the National Mall
  • Writing lots of postcards
  • reflecting
  • hosting friends 
  • Singing on Seth Rudetsky
  • enduring with varying levels of grace a huge period of inexplicable and illogical clinical depression (one I expect to rear its head about every 6 years, and here it was, right on schedule)
  • Checking Japan off my bucket list
  • Eating, Seeing, Tasting, Smelling, and Teaching in JAPAN
  • Aunt-ing
  • Nursing heartache after heartache
  • Falling off a damn motorbike
  • Eating so much watermelon
  • Celebrating my big brother’s 50th birthday
Big Brother!

10 September, 2018

Questions from Book Tour - Part 4

1. What made you feel ready to tell such a personal story [as White Hot Grief Parade] at this particular moment?

     I actually began writing White Hot Grief Parade in 2011— after I published a blog post marking the 10th anniversary of my father’s death. There was something about the milestone, combined with my Broadway debut just weeks before, that made me awaken to the fact that I had indeed “turned out okay.”

When a child experiences any kind of adversity, the main hope and concern of all responsible adults is that the child “turn out okay.” I can’t speak for everyone, but I felt an extraordinary responsibility to not just be “okay” but to also fulfill my dreams as my father (and mother) also wanted and encouraged for me. And despite all my wonderful experiences in the West End, and across America, when you’re an American little girl dreaming of being an actress, the dream of your life is to be on Broadway. It was a lot of milestones colliding at once.

I starting writing the piece after the blog post came out and it almost tumbled out of me— I finished it in a few short months.

Why share it now, seven years later? I realize now that “turning out okay” is a bare minimum. it is a term of survival, not of actualization or a thriving mentality. I need to reach higher, and deeper within. I needed to more than survive, I need to become myself. Today I stand here not only “okay,” but as fully myself and as deeply at peace as I have ever been. From this place, is where we are ready and able to share our deepest vulnerabilities. They have been processed, they have formed and guided us.

2.   This chapter is directly rooted in musical theatre culture with Sondheim and Into the Woods, but you play with structure throughout the book, introducing chapters written as scenes of a play, chapters written as scenes of a farce, a cryptogram, a maze. What led you to play with form in this way?

If you examine the book intricately you can see that not only does the whole narrative switch genres, but within the scenic work itself the writing switches its genres like some sort of bizarre improv game. I suppose that is why I used this format.  To be honest, it wasn’t entirely a conscious creative choice, at first it was a very necessary personal exercise. The flipping of genres and formats was the result of me attempting to personally express the experience of grief as accurately as possible, and I found couldn’t always do that in traditional prose. Some things cannot always be described—they must be intimated at (the use of mazes, cryptogram and haiku.) Some things are in fact too painful to look at directly or described in first person (that was often when I used the scenes).

Oddly, the overall effect is very much like grief itself—not just every day, but every minute is a new rush of experience, information and feeling rushing toward you like a freight train. One has no control over it, one must simply endure and surrender to the “parade.”

from The Killing Game
3.  Who’s work or what work from the theatre guided your writing these scene chapters?

The farce-like quippiness is pure Michael Frayn and Ken Ludwig.

The ultra-contemporary cinematic scenes are Annie Baker and Scottish playwright David Grieg.

The almost preposterously long stage directions are Eugene Ionesco and Tennessee Williams. (Have you ever read Ionesco’s The Killing Game? The stage directions are as good as—if not a bit better than—the dialogue). 

4.   Have you ever written a play before?

from Antigone
I have. I have (very loosely) adapted two Greek tragedies, and am currently working on a third. The first is an adaptation of Trojan Women (after Euripedes) which had a premier production in 2015 at The Hangar Theater.

The second is after Sophocles’ Antigone—mine is extremly modern in its language and politics, and is just aching for a production at this particularly volatile time across out planet.

I am working on an adaptation on Seven Against Thebes. I love the Greek plays—living in them feels what I think an archeologist must feel like; they remind me of our theatrical and thus, human and emotional, origins. it is both troubling and comforting to know that we have always rumbled with the same mythic queries.

I feel that Antigone is more relevant than ever, and I do hope she can see the theatrical light very soon.

5.       You say you never saw yourself inside Into the Woods. Would you like to play Cinderella if you could? Or would you rather play another role because you feel you’ve explored Cinderella through your personal story?

Honestly, the greatest Into the Woods ache is that I will likely never get to play Little Red—which is the character I feel—and have always felt—the most aligned with. She is the one who faces so much trauma and loss so early in her life. I suppose a part of me will always “be” her.

I would certainly never turn down an opportunity to play Sondheim’s Cinderella, I would be so willing to have her teach me things. But yes, i do feel i ‘ve worked through a great deal of her arc through my own life, and suppose I have much more currently in common with The Witch.

But yes— I have never felt “inside” Into the Woods, it’s a piece I always feel I am seeing from the outside. Perhaps that means I am the Narrator...

04 September, 2018

Coulda-been ku 18

You were that summers 
northern lights. You cooked.Thank you
for sharing the boat. 


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