Suzan-Lori Parks is all I can seem to talk about these days. But her project is a topic perfectly fitted to the mission of this blog, in that each week here in LA, a different theatre company stages the plays, which means that each week I am introduced to a new theatre, a new batch of plays, and a new wind of inspiration. A weekly dose of sustenance.
Week One was staged downtown. It struck me how doing theatre in a public place, for free, for the public, somehow seems like an act of subversion. I feel that we have been conditioned to understand "public" as a dirty word, something shameful and impoverished, and through such conditioning, we have allowed public spaces, public gatherings, and public sentiments to be degraded. So it was nice to revel in the publicness of these plays, and the huge group of people there watching them. And it was great to meet the woman who envisioned the event, and even better to see that she was more excited to watch the plays than any of her fans - her enthusiasm and energy were contagious. She is the coolest person ever. And as Dave says, she's the nicest smelling Pulitzer Prize winner I've ever hugged.
I missed Week Two here - we were in Minnesota for Thanksgiving.
Week Three was staged in a small Lutheran church just down the road from the Mormon Temple. The plays were phenomenal, and although treated like a staged reading (no costumes, only the barest of props, scripts in hand), it was a really great staging with simple, inventive moments that perfectly complemented the text. My favorite was Dragon Song because I love any play that features an ordinary Jane whose only unique talent is looking down at the ground as the herione.