Pisces 8° (February 25) Sunday
Do you remember whispering “I’ll never forget you” into my ear before flying out of a rehearsal suite, an entire floor of the Coopers Lybrund building, and my life in 1992, I wonder. You came into audition for Nina in the Seagull, a part that, you had no idea, had already been promised (shhh) to Laura Linney who didn’t have to audition at all. I was the reader, playing Constantin, for all the young actresses who came in. I didn’t read with all of them but I remember that Marisa Tomei and Cynthia Nixon and a slew of others auditioned. But I don’t remember much of anything from those few days except your audition, which I don’t quite recall but for different reasons that, if your reaction was true at the time, you will still remember and understand.
You came in and you were wearing something like a Betsy Johnson floral print dress, in rayon, that buttoned down the front. It might have had sort of a rounded collar. And you had on kind of big sneakers or running shoes. You were far more a tomboy than I would have imagined and you had cropped your hair short in a sort of 1930s retro-depression-era bob that was popular at the time. You could have worked at the Grange Hall in the West Village. Anyway, if you remember as you vowed to do, you will know what happened next despite the fact is was one big half-hour striking of lightning and then the aftermath.
For brevity, now—because I will be elaborating later—this is what happened. You bounced into the room and sat down facing me and Tony Randall and the play’s director Marshall Mason and Marshall Mason’s manservant major domo, Rand. There was some comment about how you seemed frank or forthright or something, and you said you came from a family of boys and that you had balls basically. You were radiating light—a truly beautiful being. Then suddenly—let’s read, came the hand clap, and it was explained to you that I was Bill or Liam or William or who remembers now what they called me then (a tangential story I’ll put in tomorrow’s), were to read with you, on our feet, and we were to do the final scene between the characters, the real killer, at the end. And then, if you do remember, you tell me what happened.
We were off and we were absorbed into the characters and each other and some glorious alchemy and beatificence. I know we scarcely looked at the scripts which seemed to fall out of our hands as we spun, clung, flung and flew around each other as if we were on orbital tracks so precise and safe, and the Chekhov words picked up true emotion as they poured out of our beings at one another. And you know that this scene ends with Nina embracing Constantin before flying out of his life forever; and so you flew from the room, wailing, leaving Tony, Marshall, Rand and me stunned, speechless; whereupon they collective leered at me with the silent words: Go after her. And I flew from the room, all of this happening in an instant, to find you at the end of the hallway with I supposed your handler. And you were weeping uncontrollably and through it I caught your eye, and you came running toward me, in that print dress and plump white sneakers, and you threw your arms around me and you whispered in my ear: I will never forget you. And then you flew again down the hall and out of my life. And then something overwhelmed me.
My body went into some kind of shock or seizure, my body morphing, as it once had (yet another story pin in that), in an Altered States fashion, and I was writhing and stumbling and moaning but not crying because, one realizes later, that the way in which my emotion that had been inspired and elicited was so intense and total and so seismically carthartic that it was getting stuck in my instrument you might say and i went down the hall and I was in complete emotional and phyiscal indeed muscular visceral agony that was surely unprecedented and would not end well or easily when suddenly I was jumped from behind and effeciently thrown onto my stomach to the floor and I felt the full weight of Rand’s body as he crouched on me and sought to roll, as with an invisible rolling pin, this invisible thing which had bubbled up so big as to now be trapped in my emotional, energetic guts. Apparently he had done this before. So I guess it wasn’t that extraordinary, this was a thing that happened to people, to readers, to actors when the reality of the moment that is spiritually bound inside a play invites the beings speaking the words and like high priests and priestesses they can explode all at once. Rand called it “breakthrough.”
I could and probably will go on.
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Pisces 11° (February 28) Wednesday