(Though one could argue that this is there home, or that it was.)
Tonight was the closing night of the Cherry Orchard at the Evidence Room, which means it was the closing night of the Evidence Room. At it's current digs, at least. I've got lots of wonderful memories of that place; of theater I've seen within those walls; of friends I've made; of friends who aren't around anymore; of jigs I've danced. (Yeah, there's been lots of dancing.)
I wasn't really sad while I was there tonight. It's hard to be sad inside of that building. There's too much life goin' on, you know? Too much booze bein' drunk and jigs bein' junk (that doesn't make any sense at all, but I like how it sounds, and it's been awhile since I've invented a freaking phrase on my blog, so there we go) (if it wasn't clear from the context, well, I'll use it again, in another sentence: "Fuck, yeah, the DJ's playing 'Hey Ya,' let's go junk our jig on the dance floor!") (I understand that that sentence was a complete nonsequitor but it's my example and I think it gets the point across) (I hate sentences that have the word "that" in them twice in a row) (that that) (it fucking sucks when you have to do that) (I wish that one of the thats could be spelled "thet") (in which case, I would have said: "I understand thet that sentence was a complete nonsequitor...") (doesn't that work so much fucking better?) to be sad. When you're inside the Evidence Room, you just want to flow with the groove. You don't want to be sad. I didn't start getting sad until I got home and started writing this blog entry--that's when I started to think about how much I was going to miss that place.
A building is a building--or a bra factory is a bra factory--and that's about it. Until someone makes it into something more. And you gotta hand it to Bart DeLorenzo for making that place the kind of theater where you often never want to leave. I've seen countless shows there and I've almost always stayed at least an hour after the show was over, if not longer. Hangin' with my theater peeps, gettin' my booze on, junking my jig (see? it's catching on!) (it's totally catching on) (right?) (i mean, you're gonna start using it) (you totally are). Bart created that vibe. And he also created a hell of a lot of good theater.
I want to run through a list of memories, but it's four in the freaking morning and I'm driving back up to Pismo Beach to meet up with my dad and my brothers for more fourth of July weekend fun, and I have to get on the road in, oh, about five hours, so I'm going to go to sleep.
One memory, though, before I go to sleep:
I can't say goodbye to the Evidence Room without mentioning Pamela Gordon. Pamela passed away from esophageal cancer a few years ago. Pamela was a grande dame of the theater. She was a neurotic, outrageous, funny lady. A true character. She had an unforgettable, deep smoker's voice, yet there was something about her that was completely ageless; if she had told me that she was in her thirties I would have believed her and if she had told me that she was in her eighties I would have believed her as well. Seriously. (Of course, Pamela being Pamela, she was always completely cagey about her age--if I remember correctly, her IMDB profile once said that she was in her 80s, until Pamela found out, and demanded they change it) (though that might have been a dream I had once)
I knew who Pamela was before I met her. I'd seen her in the ER's production of Edward Bond's Saved, and I'd seen her dozens of times in Weird Science, of course, too. (Because, hello? She played Wyatt's mom in fucking Weird Science.) (Represent.) So I was a fan.
And she had seen a production of my very first produced play, Tonseisha, at Theatre of NOTE, where she was also a member; so she knew me too.
But even though we both already knew each other, we actually met onstage. At the end of the ER's production of Charles Mee's play Imperialists at the Club Cave Canem (the song and dance extravaganza) (which is honestly one of my favorite theatrical experiences in the history of ever) (I know I saw it at least ten times), in the last number, the actors encouraged the audience to get up onstage and junk the jig, if you will. The first time I saw the play, I got up onstage during that last number and jigged my way over to Pamela. She had the biggest smile on her face you'd ever seen. And we fucking rocked the hell out. Later that night, at the bar, we started talking, and decided we wanted to work on something together. A movie, a play, something. We never did work together, but for the next two years, every six months or so, we got together for lunch at Dupar's (which is such a Pamela restaurant) and we talked about theater and art and books and Our Plans To Take Over This Town. I think we had four of these lunches. She was a lovely woman; she was the Evidence Room's patron saint; whenever I go there, I think of that funny little lady, I think of a big, raging smile on her face, I think of her wiry body jigging her junk.
Now I'll say goodnight with this image, of the Cherry Orchard actors leaving the stage after their last bow:
Oh, and New Thing #106: I drove three hours to see a play. (I've seen a lot of theater in my life, and I've travelled and seen theater in many other cities, but I've never travelled such a distance for the sole and specific reason of seeing a play.) (But that's what I did tonight.) (I just couldn't bear not being there on closing night.)
New Thing #107: I said goodbye to the Evidence Room, natch. (see above)