Monday, April 14, 2014

The Moon Again, Waxing

Lucky me, I am awash in poetry this weekend.

Not all of it is the traditional kind. Today I cut armfuls of lilacs, my favorite flower, and now it's perfuming this room as the open windows waft that beautiful smell toward me.

Ever since I was young and smelled lilac for the first time, I have been entranced by its scent which somehow induces a sense of euphoria in me, as if all wonderful and romantic things are possible.

It's the poetry of scent, pure and simple.

I left my lilacs to join a roomful of people at Chop Suey to hear Ryan Kent read from his collection, "Poems for Dead People" to the musical accompaniment of a guitar.

So, yes, every poem read in his deep, sonorous voice was about a dead person, whether someone he knew or someone he read or heard about.

"Little Black Dress" was about the suicide of Jagger's girlfriend, L'Wrenn Scott, Even the way you die is in vogue.

Some subjects were dear to him -"The Family Will Receive Friends" was about his father's death while "You Better Apply Cream" finished with a recommendation about hemorrhoid cream.

Mid-reading, he paused to take a sip from a wine glass of clear liquid, holding it up and noting, "This is vodka."

Not that it mattered what it was.

I love the imagery of "Slowly Going Death" - The conga line of entitled white people - and the phrasing of "You are Everywhere" - A place where light goes to die.

His poetry was sharply observed with definite undercurrents of 21st century cynicism and before reading his last one, he said, "Okay, I've got one more and then we should probably go get drunk next door."

Everyone else may have joined him for that, but my hired mouth and I had places to go and meals to eat at a place I knew of but had never been, despite its long-time presence.

Then it was on to the Ghostlight after party at Richmond Triangle Players with tonight's revelry taking a decidedly literary bent. The theme was a gender-reversed Shakespeare's birthday celebration (abridged). Inside jokes abound there.

Last month's GLAP had been cancelled and I'd been away the month before, so it felt like ages since I'd come for a night of show tunes, drinking and pizza. was pure icing on the cake.

Tonight we were in for a huge treat, a reprise of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) (revised), a three-man show I'd caught last month at the JCC, here, and spent the evening laughing my ass off.

Tonight, we only got Act I, but even so, I was in the enviable position of having one of the actors fake vomit on me, another offered me a head pie during Titus Andronicus and during Julius Cesar, one stopped by and inquired how I was doing as he made his way down the aisle.

Because we were at Richmond Triangle Players (whose tag line is, "If we don't do it, who would?") there were lots of RTP jokes about nudity (we only got partial) and inferences, like when the actors were discussing not doing Coriolanus and one cracked, "We're at RTP and we're not going to do the anus play?"

No one ever said GLAP was highbrow entertainment and that's why we like it.

After a break to get more libations, the second half began with a man standing up in the audience and taking the part of Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing, making his way toward the stage, only to be answered by a woman with a drink on the other side.

I would rather listen to my dog bark at a crow than hear a man swear that he loves me.

They turned out to be actors from Bard Unbound, a fairly new group who takes Shakespeare off the page and off the stage and into non-traditional places. In this case, that apparently meant to a roomful of people drinking and carrying on.

Host Maggie started talking about the gender reversed Shakespeare series that Billy Christopher Maupin has been doing in Richmond for years now (I've seen almost all of them and it's been fabulous seeing all those women onstage in men's parts) and next thing we knew, Molly Hood (with her crstalline elocution) was taking Benedick's part and BC was Beatrice and by total coincidence, they played the exact same scene the first two actors had.

Except this time he was a she and she was a he.

I would my horse had the speed of your tongue.

Of course, after two such stellar Shakespearean scenes, we had to come back to earth, or at least earth in the GLAP world, when host Matt explained that he and Maggie had dressed as prescribed for a gender-reversed show, meaning gray scale with one pop of color.

That led to a tangent about how Matt's parents finally understood him enough to end him a gift of Cabernet colored skinny jeans and boxers decorated with roosters (or cock boxers, as he enjoyed calling them), which he was wearing.

Somehow, this was a segue to them reminiscing about last month's GLAP, scheduled for St. Patrick's day (they even had Lucky Charms and milk on hand), but unexpectedly called off when RTP lost power.

The story was a lead-in to them singing Eddie Grant's 1982 hit "Electric Avenue," a song they had been buying the sheet music for when I'd walked into GLAP tonight.

Why plan ahead when flying by the seat of your pants is so much more fun?

Anyhow, about to begin singing the song, Matt said, "If you know this song, you're a step ahead of us because we don't."

Didn't matter. Pianist Sandy can play any music put in front of her and what Matt and Maggie lacked in knowing the song, they made up for in volume and enthusiasm.

We heard lots of songs from Shrek: The Musical tonight, along with reminders to go see it in the next two weeks before it closes.

Matt decided to do a ballad and there was some low level grumbling, but he's got such a fantastic voice and the song he chose, "Better Than I," from 2007's Joseph: King of Dreams came out beautifully.

Jacqui, a GLAP virgin, did Someone to Watch Over Me, and although I met her years ago, I had no idea she could sing so well. The things you learn at GLAP.

Things were getting pretty silly by then - alcohol will do that- and the last couple of Shrek numbers we saw had their fair share of asses and men playing women to the hilt.

Before you could make an another anus joke, Matt yelled that it was time for pizza and a dance party and all hell broke loose as "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" came on.

"Oooh, I love Madonna!" the woman near me squealed (and I didn't correct her) as I downed a slice of pepperoni pizza.

I like Madonna. I love poetry and lilacs.

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