I couple of days back I posted the monologue I wrote for Stella for the opening night of the Afterglow Festival last year. So I thought I would post my bit too although you’ll have to use your imagination a bit here because my bit relies a lot on pantomime; anyway, coming off the “polarization” theme of yesterday’s post I thought I would throw this out there because, as along with Stella’s bit, both monologues are really about how our little town at the end of Cape Cod is a microcosm of our deeply divided culture on a grand scale. Also, as we’ve changed venues this coming year and won’t be performing our own opening-night show in which we feature festival artists performing that week, I thought it a bit of an homage to the past. I am now cranking up the machinery on all aspects of the Provincetown festival, and working on a new festival for Cambridge so you might expect that much of my Blague-ing will be about the cosmic jokes I encounter in so doing. Because I always do!
The following was performed September 12, 2016 in Provincetown:
Good evening. Thanks. Applause. Nice. Applause. I’ll Take it. If only for fitting into this tux. Seriously. Not to self: Don’t buy formal wear after completing a 30-day Bikram yoga challenge. Don’t do it. As it is Provincetonians traditionally fatten up as summer ends, like squirrels, before all the restaurants close for the season. Nice that more are staying open. Still, we are going to move the show along this year because: Oy.
So, as you can imagine, I’ve been busy putting this entire festival together—thank you—and (if they applaud: you’re going to doing a lot of applauding here tonight as nine of the fourteen festival performers are here tonight to give you a sampling of what they have in store for you this week with their individual shows, plus some special guests, right) so I’ve been busy organizing and so I don’t have any brilliant stand up prepared or spoken word or anything like that to perform—really I’ve got nothing—so I’m just going to wing it something my acting teacher—Uta—said never to do so, I don’t know I thought I’d just talk about the weather. Really because I love the weather this time of year.
It’s one of the main reasons we chose this time of year for Afterglow, you know, post summer glare. It’s my favorite time of year. I just love it. September. It’s so beautiful. The navy seas, the white caps, the perwinkle skies the bleached parchment sand and still the sunkissed skin and salty brow and the best part of all….Sweaters. Sweaters. So comfortable. And sweaters on the beach. I’m sorry but it’s so chic. Negligent chic but..and sexy so sexy, I think so sexy. Sweaters. They’re like Yankeen lingerie.
And there are fewer people. Or as Stella Starsky calls them the Ford Taurists—the day trippers—they’re gone. And that’s why this is the perfect time, too, for Afterglow, because it is so reminiscent of a summer in Provincetown, say, oh, sevent years ago when an artist, a performer, anyone could come here and have room to move, room to stretch, room to roam, room to create, room to grow and room..s to rent. Not to mention a stage on which a performer could play. So free and comfortable. September really is so conducive to “Try(ing) to Remember” a simpler, more easeful, twinkly and electric time.
And how about you are you comfortable. Yeah? Oh good. Your comfort means a lot to us especially in these times because even here over the rainbow flag in Provincetown we live in a polarized, fractured us-and-them kind of world. Yes even there are factions—mainly outside these doors, if not concurrently on other stages, but even in here we have a bit of a mix. You’re all mixed together. And we want you to feel comfortable amongst the various groups and sects and xenos—is that a word xenos?—amongst the various xenos you find yourselves.
There are our sponsors here tonight of course; and our sparklers, too; but our sponsors esepcially are easy to recognize. As they are the ones leaning in. No, literally leaning in. You would have spotted them earlier coming in, lurched forward, edging up behind you perhaps stepping on your heels a bit, giving you the old flat tire. Not really seeing you but looking over your head maybe on tip toe. Or not. It’s just that sponsors tend to be taller than other people—really, they’re taller, it’s a thing—and they would have been focused down front making a beeline to find their reserved seats in the second or third row. Not the first, no never the first—God forbid. Which I don’t really understand: when people don’t want to sit “oh no! not in the front row.” Why not? “I’d rather sit in the back.” Really? Why? You do realize that the first row is just that much closer than the second, right? We’re not Gilbert Godfriend. Nobody’s going to sledge hammer a watermelon. We’re not Blue Man Group. You don’t need a bib or a slicker. It’s not a log flume. But hey, sponsors though forard leaning, are discreet—some are even anonymous—so fine they found their seats in the second, third, fourth row and they’re happy still leaning forward on the edge of their seats some still on tiptoe, legs shaking in eager anticipation. Like parents at a children’s recital, having invested in their talent, shelled out a few clams, and they’re smiling up at me now, I see you, with your perma grins—those are going to hurt later—nodding in appreciation like the beaming bobble-headed benefacts that they are. They just want it to be good. It’s good right. It’s good. Is it good? Is it good? Is it good? Yeah. Would make a great Snapchat filter wouldn’t it. The sponsor?
And then of course there are the invited audience of townspeople here, the townsfolk if you will who hopefully left their torches on their porches. The Townies though meh they don’t really love that word, the T-word, especially when uttered by someone who isn’t one. The T-word. T for touchy. And they’re easty to spot too because they’re the ones leaning back, mainly with their legs crossed like so, arms folded, typically looking at you sidelong with just half the face, not wanting to commit, just the one eye, most liekly the left, not commiting the full gaze with the right eye no just the left and not the whole left just the corner, the outside corner, without the tear duct, just the dead corner of the eye. Like impress me. And they are strategically seated on the ends in the back on the side in case they have to make a Brexit, a quick get away without being noticed. Which by the way is rarely achieved. People who try to “slip out” always spill something or knock something over or step on someone or trip on someones handbag or especially the heavy doors here always make noise or cast light. But my favorite Brexit move is when people cross, the were seated on the end but they have to cross, and then the do that barely bent over walk through the spotlight so their giant head shadow is cast across the stage, and you get this perfect bent over cameo, going by and the person thinks somehow this makes them invisible the bending but everybody wants to know where the hunched over giant shadow head is going. But for now the Townspeople will stay, won’t you. They’ll see. Anyway this is something different, it’s something different it’s something different—the Massachusetts mantra—it’s something different and maybe they’ll like something different and spread the word, right? Right? T-people?
And the last major faction we have here tonight are passsers by, the already dinters, the strollers, mainy couples who are working that delicate mix of wine and espresso perhaps with a cognac thrown in for good measure, which is always a recipt for impulse shopping or the impromptu purchasing of show tickets. And maybe they were just passing by the box office and asked if there was a show starting and thought: Should we? Do we want to? You think? I don’t know—it’s up to you, and they just said “Okaaay, let’s do it” and then speeed-walked from the box office to the door just in time and then suddenly they were like whoa and sort of stopped startled and did that kind of deer head caught in the headlights two-dimensional heiroglphy walk, their buzz shifting, shades of buyers remorse setting in, what…is…this…where…should…we…? These all say reserved. Those have weirdly smiling people in them those others have are-they angry people in them. Where do we go. What do we do. Someone is yes that guy is waving he is waving at us is he waving at us. Us? He’s nodding and pointing to tow seats. Two seats? You want us to ok—go quick, go quick before someone else…ok this is fine. And then it begins. “Is my bag, where should I put my bag, is it safe on the back of my no I can put it on the floor is the floor clean is it sticky no it’s okay but what if someone spills a drink I think I’ll just hold it, I’ll hold it, I’m going to hold it. I said I’ll hold it. Is it cold? Are you cold? I can’t tell is it cold? Maybe I’ll put my shall should I oh you’re warm? are you warm? do you want to take that off? I can hold your…or…I can pull your sleeve. I don’t know should I get a wait waiter what what’s happening is he talking to me again is he talking to me are you talking to me? Yes.
Because this is opening night….
Typos happen—I don’t have time or an intern to edit.*
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