I had dreams.
Even though I’d read all the articles that assured me that creating something is a reward in itself, even though I knew I should bask in the glory of bringing life to the blank page, even though I’d been told over and over that looking at the finished work and finding it good is all a writer needs to be fulfilled, even though that Satisfaction is The Pinnacle; I was not convinced.
My heart beat with the hope that the finished work would bring joy to more than me. All the hours I’d sat in front of the computer would touch the lives of others. My play would be produced. Yes! It would be produced in a big theater with lavish sets and costumes, brought to life by a director whose profound understanding of the work had been communicated to protean actors who every night and at matinees would speak my speech trippingly on the tongue. There would be huzzahs!
I would be in the theatre.
Now, I would just like to get to the theater.
I work until 6:30 pm and live in the Westside. Do you think I can get to a theatre in Noho on a weekend evening? One night a few Fridays ago, I tried to get to Peace In Our Time at the Antaeus Theatre.
My husband and I hopped into the car at 6:35 and looked at the 10 East on the computer. It was solid red. We decided to take Sunset Boulevard and zipped along until we reached Kenter Blvd. Then we stopped. At 7:45, we hadn’t reached the 405 and sat, not moving, listening to KPCC. Our GPS (a girl named Olive who is very knowledgeable but who has trouble pronouncing street names) repeated that we were on the fastest route but wouldn’t get to theater until 9:05.
Finally, we called the Box Office, cancelled our tickets and turned (not an easy thing to do) for home.
The next week, a friend said that he had comp tickets for As I Like It at the Macha in West Hollywood. Could I join him? It was a Thursday evening. Surely, I could get to King’s Road in an hour and a half. At 8:35, I arrived. The door to the theater was locked. I banged on it (discreetly but persistently) and a very nice person showed me the door to the balcony. It was a short play and I was back down in the lobby not long after a found a seat.
At Theatre Palisades, the pre show talk in the lobby is not about the drumbeat for war, the fifty million without health insurance, the Lakers. Magic words are whispered – La Brea, Topanga Canyon, the McClure tunnel. People sink exhausted onto the lobby benches, murmuring, “There were three accidents on the 10.” “I had to detour at Sepulveda.” “I’ll never do this again.”
Actors call. “There’s been a fender bender at Vermont. Please tell the stage manager.”
On summer Sunday matinees, we provide the customers coming up from Long Beach with cold compresses and Aleve.
I really shouldn’t complain. There are lots of good theaters on the Westside – Theatricum Botanicum, The Odyssey, the Edgemar, the Pico Playhouse, The Garage, the Morgan-Wixson, the Ruskin. This Friday, I saw A.R. Gurney’s The Dining Room at the 3rd Street Promenade Theatre in Santa Monica and it was great fun, beautifully directed and acted and full of good surprises.
Truly, I don’t know why I’m ranting. I could stop eating for a couple of weeks and buy a ticket to Beth Henley’s new play at the Geffen. (But that’s another blog.)