Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I was so excited Sunday night I woke up at 4 a.m. and couldn’t get back to sleep. I feel like my insides are melting and reforming in the chrysalis of love; I feel held, very gently, and also smelted down, transformed. My colors are liquifying and getting more intense as light is refracted through old wounds. C’s presence is so gentle, so penetrating, authentic and real that my soul just keeps opening wider and wider. If he forced himself in any way I would shut down, I know I have before. But he never does.

We spent a blissful, simple, full weekend doing ordinary things, going for a hike, visiting the Guitar Center, talking, cooking, singing and practsing music; eating. For Chanukah I gave him a beautiful cloth-of-silver tallis with a note: Welcome to my Tribe. He gave me every art supply under the sun, including an easel. When I saw that, I dropped to the floor and cried. It was his customary thoroughness, no stone unturned, nothing but the best, and he thought of everything, brushes, pencils, pens, paper--he always thinks of everything.

I wrote him the lyrics for a song; he is going to write music for it. We bought songbooks and looked at drums and went home and played piano and sang together. He taught me how to pick apart chords in order to train my ear. He put together a dolly for his Hammond organ, and I helped him load it on.

Then my friend Tim Perkis got back to me about the hot tub script. Tim did an independent documentary film called “Noisy People” about the experimental music scene in the Bay Area. He and I have talked about working together on a film for years—something that could be shot on a shoe-string, locally. Two middle-aged people farting around with cameras and actors: “Let’s put on a show!”

Except it’s never that easy of course. You decide to do something—the idea os born lightly, like a fairy—and then you’re in for it. months and years of work, flailing around in the dark not knowing what you are doing or if your project will ever see the light of day. Doubt. Despair. Sheer stubbornness and willpower. And finally, if you’re lucky, some sort of production emerges. Sometimes even a little money with it.

But both of us know. I worked for six or seven years on Kaddish, and he must have put in the same amount of time on Noisy People. Time spent learning how to do it, making mistakes, making connections, putting the work down for a few months in order to have a midlife crisis, or fall in love, or earn a living, or do something else—and then pick it back up again. Meanwhile, the clock ticks and no one gets any younger.

Tim really likes the hot tub script—phew!—but is concerned about the logistics of filming in a hot tub. I suggested we rent the DVD of About Schmidt and see how the director did it in that movie. There is the great hot tub scene with Kathy Bates and Jack Nicholson—I will always always love and respect Kathy Bates for being nude in that scene in her so-far-from-Hollywood body. She is such a fine actor.

Anyway, it is not a for-sure done deal that Tim will direct Hot Tub. He’s interested but wary. He knows it will mean a year of his life—at least a year, maybe more—and angst, and dozens of logistical problems, and a lot of learning on the job. He has to be sure he’s ready for that, that he thinks it’s doable before he commits.

I’d love for the project to go forward with him. He and I have talked around this project for years. The character of Jack was someone we’d originally come up with in a much bigger, more far-flung idea for a production which we could never make given a) our budget and b) our expertise, or lack of it. I did write a script for that, and it lies languishing in one of Tim’s drawers where it will hopefully languish forever.

Out of that script, the best scene was one where Jack is in a hot tub with an ex-girlfriend of his, a much-younger woman. When I needed to write a play in eight days last June, I returned to the scene of the crime. My friend Carla, a brilliant playwright, director, actor, and singer, read the play and said it felt more like a movie to her. Duh! Of course! And so we come back full circle.

Today, Wing It! had our photo shoot in a photographer’s loft in West Oakland. For an hour and a half we leaped into each other’s arms, posed, mugged, danced, snuggled, and were serious for the camera. I hope he got some good shots. The place was full of conventional wedding albums, which didn’t interest me much, but I liked the framed nudes and unframed move posters on his walls. And I liked the loft-ness of it, the artist living space thing. My house is very much a house; regular rooms, closets, walls, doors. Lofts are all open, and the space is much more at the individual’s disposal. I just wish they were warmer and softer, especially the floors.


Suzanne said...

I still haven't had a chance to read the newest version of Hot Tub yet, but I, too, felt the first version would have worked better onscreen rather than onstage.

There are easier cinematic ways to compensate for a lack of physical action by moving the camera and changing angles and shots that aren't an option on stage. I think it's probably a better medium to tell this particular story.

What an exciting new adventure!!

And I promise, PROMISE I tell you, that I will read the script soon. I've been so overloaded the past month and a half that I'm still decompressing and haven't had the mental energy to give it the attention it deserves.

Alison said...

Oh, that'll be great, I look forward to reading your comments!

Yeah, the general consensus seems to be that it would make a better movie than a play. Fine by me. But who's got the money, time and expertise to make a movie?