Thursday, August 2, 2012

Dancing on the Balcony Under a Full Moon

With August arrived and with it a full moon, it's time to kick into summer overdrive.

I figured the best way to do that was with Secco's Summer of Riesling.

Let's face it, if anyone can change the popular perception of this grape, it's Secco.

Apparently we weren't the only people needing to do something summery because there were only three bar stools open when we arrived.

We took two next to a wine-loving publisher I know and two flights of Riesling too.

Dr. Fischer Ockfener Bernstein 201 had delicate fruit and a nice acidity. It made clear why Secco is calling their special time "the acid hour."

Food was in order and we chose the arugula salad with dried cherries, Stilton, walnuts and a roasted shallot vinaigrette and the lamb sliders.

If ever there was a stroke of genius, it was the date relish on those sliders.

Our second wine was Dr. Thanisch Berncasteler Doctor 2009, overflowing with peach and mineral notes.

We finished with Munster d'Alsace, fruity and funky and perfect for off-dry drinking, which we just happened to be doing.

Last up was Erbes Urziger Wurzgarten 2010, the most off-dry of the trio and perfectly balanced sweetness and acidity.

My companion was blown away with our lesson in Riesling, surprised to discover that cloying and Riesling are not synonymous.

Properly sated, we got ourselves to the Firehouse Theater.

Tonight was the second showing of "Trojans," a new play by Augustin Correro being produced by the young bucks at TheaterLAB.

Explaining TheaterLAB's mission, Creative Director Deejay Gray explained that, "It's important to produce new theater or else there'll just be a thousand productions of 'Nunsense!"

Thankfully, TheaterLAB is saving us from that.

The play began on a completely dark stage with two men having sex on a bed.

Once the lights came up, we began to learn the unusual circumstances of what was going on.

The play was set in a time after the "Testament Initiative,"when Fundamentalist types had decided that women would only be used for breeding, leaving men to resort to sex clubs where they got their needs serviced.

The main character, Gabriel, so named because everyone was required to have Old Testament names, had been in the underground club since he was thirteen years old.

He had no memory of women at all despite a huge curiosity to know, see, and experience them.

"I think a healthy bit of chat is stimulating."

Because he never got to leave his subterranean chamber, the action revolved around the clients and other men workers who came to see him there.

There was Peter, a shy man who saved his money in order to come to the club and have sex two or three times a year.

There was Bradley, who told him about the "pre-Santa" world before women were taken away, a world Gabe never knew.

"I'm just an old man who likes to make an entrance," he said, dismissing the gift his words had been to Gabe.

There was Helena Troy, resplendent in a pink robe and matching lipstick, a man whose daughter had been killed and who was in the process of having surgeries to make him more women-like.

The only female character was a runaway girl speaking French, meaning Gabe couldn't understand a word she said, but he hid her anyway.

He paid a violent price for touching her when Adam, the man who'd procured her, discovered her in Gabe's room.

The only other visitor in his lonely world was Cleanup, a guy whose name defined his role at the club.

Despite only a week and a half in rehearsals, the cast was strong and the story riveting for its notion of a woman-less world.

At the talk back afterwards, playwright Augustin Correro joined the cast in answering questions about the play.

He said it had been written as a reaction to legislation being proposed in Virginia for pregnant women to have trans-vaginal ultrasounds, legislation proposed by men naturally.

I've said it before, but it bears repeating.

Keep your laws off my body.

And while every women I know shares that opinion, it's always affirming when I hear how strongly some men feel about it, too.

Correro envisioned the legacy of such legislation as this all-male dystopia with women kept in tubes as breeders only.

Let's just say an all-male world is a really bad idea.

Listening to the playwright speak, I was glad we'd come tonight instead of opening night since he hadn't come that night and it seemed special having n his energy in the room.

We learned he had allowed the director, Melissa Rayford, to make many decisions about staging his work.

"My responsibility as a playwright is not to be Arthur Miller," he said, explaining his latitude with how the play was interpreted.

The talk back allowed many women in the audience to express their thoughts on a male-dominated play that was essentially all about females.

It was brought up that playwrights need to write more roles for women (this one had only one) and while I support that idea 100%, this particular play was about an all-male world and it had the potential to be a very strong piece of theater, so I understood the absence of female roles.

There was a fair amount of back and forth on that topic, but as far as I was concerned it was comparing apples and oranges.

Yes, I'd been impressed by the play and yes, we need more female roles written.

And, yes, we need companies like TheaterLAB producing new and provocative work that sheds a light on the what ifs of our society.

"More like a shell in the shape of something vital."

Because we don't want to end up in a world merely in the shape of something vital, but actually vital.

Fortunately, there are still two more nights to catch this arresting new piece of theater, this coming Monday and Tuesday.

I don't know how any theater lover could miss it.

Or honestly, anyone who cares about the direction our society seems to be taking.

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