Sunday, February 13, 2011

Notes on Bear Fornication

Staged readings at the Firehouse Theater, how do I enjoy thee? Let me count the ways.

I get to see a play that's never been produced in Richmond. The admission is a mere five bucks (free if you're a student or subscriber). They take place on Sunday nights when not a lot else is happening. They have a bar serving beer, wine and candy. It's really a no-brainer.

Tonight's offering was Itamar Moses' The Four of Us, a play about what happens when all your dreams come true...for your best friend. And while this hasn't happened to me, the premise was compelling enough to check it out.

It was a two-person comic drama about the friendship between two guys who meet at camp and whose lives stay loosely connected as one achieves his dreams of being a published novelist and the other struggles as an aspiring playwright.

Both Kyle Cornell and Jacob Pennington were strong in their roles as the two guys, each with obviously different personalities and distinct memories of the friendship's history. The "four" of the title seems to belong to the two of them and their egos...or the two of them as adults and young people. Who knows?

The play's scenes were not done in chronological order, an interesting construct that required the viewer to pay attention to what period in the characters' lives we were seeing at any given time. It also meant that sometimes full comprehension came only after seeing a later scene of a previous event.

The dialogue was particularly naturalistic, especially on the subject of their differences ("You have access to all these people, but you're too pop-culturally ignorant to appreciate it!"), which were considerable ("It's one of the things that makes you a seductive friend. You rarely seem to need anything from outside yourself.").

On the subject of sleeping around versus having a girlfriend, at issue was finding that feeling that comes with the new. "Why not have a series of very, very beginnings?"

That line comes during the "bear-f*cking scene," as it is identified in the script, along with the playwright's notes about just how far to push it without overdoing it. It's apparently a delicate balance and of great importance to the playwright.

The only reason I know that factoid is because after these staged readings, there is always a talkback with the director and actors so that the audience can satisfy their curiosity about, well, whatever they're curious about.

It should be noted that no one had to ask what the reverse cowgirl position mentioned in the bear-f*cking scene was.

Perhaps that speaks to the kind of people who attend staged readings. Make that Reason #5 why I enjoy them so much.


  1. actually there was something happening Sunday night..the Grammy's. while usually not memorable... last night's was pretty entertaining...a lot of dance & good singing. Yes I know you advertize as not having a TV. However there's an exception to every rule... sorry..last night you missed out. [CW]

  2. don't beleive it!!! sitting there watching the grammy's reminds me why I shouldn't watch the grammy's in the first place! they suck, you were better off doing something else then watching that mess!!

  3. CW: Not likely I'd have enjoyed it. Just not my thing.

    Markster: I hear you. Next year you'll know better.

  4. Well isn't it nice to have a little dissension now and then. [we can't discuss what to put down our pie hole all the time can we?]. I kinda thought Dylan was rather entertaining. He seemed to be enjoying himself down on Maggie's Farm backed by Mumford & Son's & the Avett Brothers. His voice was a bit ragged at first but got better...but it was his style that counted..his smile and his swagger.. and he got into it... finishing up with his mouth harp. their own individual performances, [Munford/Sons and the Avett brothers were a nice change of pace. would it have been better to see them "live"? Well of course, but they were "live" on TV. Sometimes you just can't be there. Remember the moon landings? Omps...Sorry I couldn't make it.... had to watch on the tube... I only mention this because of you dear blogger and your love of music. The R&B numbers...[the tribute to Aretha Franklin], Bruni Mars' play on James Brown's style..even Will Smith's Kid & Bieber weren't bad...[is any adult really a fan of theirs?]... if one's not into choreography..guess it was boring. Sure not everyone came across as good...but a mess?? I suspect a lot of people worked hard & put in long hours to pull it off. Was it slick? Of course,, it's mostly main stream music & contemporary song & dance. No if that's not your thing or anyone else'... point taken..[it's not my taste in music either, however they were talented].


    Lighten up dude, while it's a business, it's still just entertainment. Sorry you wasted your time...maybe it wasn't "wasted" , just misspent..there is a difference. I however was enjoying a wonderful red, Frog's Leap cabernet sauvigon. Cheers to you next time. Of course there's plenty of neat things to do around here... still let's not fool ourselves... there's a lot of lame groups, [dead wood] around... bands, plays & restaurants in this city also. thank god we have .."prepare your mind for what's about to follow"...our discerning blogger whose taste is aesthetically excellent....However even she as a mere mortal.. must occasionally stumble. All those individuals on that show (Grammys) started small & didn't arrive where they're at by accident or luck.'re entitled to your opinions, [after all isn't that's what's on this blogs' masthead... opinions?] We all have them, why should the readership be any different? Besides this is America 2011, consensus is dead. long live the individual. that enough? Have we covered enough ground?

    Put some Mantovani on and relax...

    Respectfully yours..

    or not..

    c. whitney

  5. CW: Wow, glad you got that off your chest!

    I wasn't saying that it wasn't a good show or even well done ('cause I wouldn't know), just that it's not my choice of how to spend an evening. And I'm sure I'm in the minority on this one.

    Honestly, The Arcade Fire was the only performance that even caught my interest and nothing could possibly compare to having seen them live at Constitution Hall in May '07, so that was easy enough to pass up.

    And I'm a heretic amongst the indie rock set because I am not a fan of Mumford & Sons. Do I think they're talented? Sure. Am I intrugued with Brits taking on folk/nu-grass? Definitely. Do I need to listen to them? Nope.

    But I can see where a glass of good cab shared with your wife on the couch in front of a music show could make for a most enjoyable evening. But remember, I don't have a TV...or a mate.

    Vive la difference!

  6. Happy Valentines Day K !!


  7. That;s so sweet! Thank you very much for that, cw!