Friday, November 4, 2016

Deep Calling Unto Deep

We must allow time tonight to revisit our discussion of the mayoral race given the withdrawal of the preferred candidate.

It's certainly been a heated topic of conversation all day long - at least for the scores of creative types and artists I know - after having our mellows harshed last night when our best chance at a truly good mayor evaporated when Jon Baliles fell on his sword to help prevent the election going to the pedophile.

Great, just great, now we're left with the slimy corporate sell-out complete with facial hair affectation or the pre-fab (just add water and watch him grow) come-here unable to speak beyond spouting the party line.


But since we already had plans to see a play, there was no reason not to spend some quality conversational time on the state of the mayor's race, among other things, when we met for dinner at Saison Market.

I'd been given my instructions to order for both of us if I arrived first - "based on our previous dining experiences, I know you have good taste" - but I didn't, so ordering temporarily fell by the wayside once I did walk in, self-identifying hibiscus blossom in hand.

The problem is that once you start examining a topographic map with a geologist is that before you know what hit you, you'll be knee-deep in igneous and metamorphic rock formations, so busy talking that by the time you order, there's about 20 minutes remaining to inhale a whole lot of food.

I'm talking pork pozole, warm and spicy; spirited seafood escabeshe of shrimp, fluke, mussels, carrots, radishes and jalapenos with hushpuppies; addictive fried brussels sprouts; and cast iron cornbread for good measure.

Someone's eyes were bigger than our minimal dinner time slot, that's all I'm saying.

In reality, the problem was not so much the short window to eat as it was all the topics that kept burbling up to the surface as we kept focusing on conversation rather than chewing.

All I can say is, good thing the theater was barely a block away. Even so, we were those people picking up tickets at 7:58 and sliding into our seats moments before Cadence Theatre's production of "John" began.

The elaborate set of the downstairs of a fussy and fusty Victorian-looking B & B set the scene for a play about how difficult it is to communicate effectively, much less ever really know someone.

But, as one character put it looking around at the object-filled cutesy rooms, it was also the "tragedy of the bed and breakfast."

Along the way, a blind woman explained why she'd committed herself to an institution ("The thing about being crazy is, it can also all be true"), another raved about "the great Ferlin Husky" as if everyone recognized the name (I did, but that's not the point) and a whiny millennial couple dealt with the unraveling of their relationship.

Where the play shone was in the completely believable language between the characters, which sounded natural and unsure like actual conversation, rather than measured and assured like play-writing too often does.

One of the most beautiful moments came when the innkeeper explained that for amusement, she'd memorized the terms for collections of birds, the phrases rolling off her tongue like poetry.

A congress of crows
A troubling of hummingbirds
A colony of gulls
A siege of herons
A mustering of storks
A tiding of magpies
A wisdom of owls
A charm of finches
A cast of falcons
A raft of loons
An exaltation of larks...

Understandably, that last one had  been her favorite for the sheer joy it conveyed.

That this Obie Award and Drama Desk Award play ended with anything but a neat, happy ending only solidified its place as a story that hews closer to real life than a convenient tying up of loose ends into a pretty bow ever could.

Because whose life ever really works out that way?

Returning to Saison Market afterward for sherry, Rose and a final dissection of "John" also provided an opportunity to dig deeper on personal histories, Hull Street taquerias and life lessons learned while a warm rain fell steadily outside.

Although "John" had already taught us that you can't ever really know someone, to be human is to try, right?

All in all, an adventure full of exaltation...minus the larks and as charming as the finches.

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