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Sophie will be appearing at the LAWN (Los Angeles Women’s Network) Holiday Party
Tuesday, December 10th
7:30 – 10pm
Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center
1125 N. McCadden PL,
Los Angeles, CA 90038
Event Link: https://www.facebook.com/events/181358542061667/
Right now my son is taping my mouth, tying my wrists with binoculars, shutting my lap top and just took a glob of cocoa butter to smear in my mouth. He is earnest and compelling to watch in his work. I don’t feel he’s doing to it to me, but rather with me, as I am not the object, but a subject in a story of his imagination.
The way I watch his face, before he’s hidden my glasses, is the way I watched the players of St Joan last night, and of Hamlet earlier this week. They work the authors’ stories as if they are working them out of their own imagination in the moment. The fascination of the audience, engaged on the precipice of each breath, heightens the immediacy of the drama. The way the players believe what they are creating moment by moment is volleyed back by the disbelief, or awe, that we are privy to the unveiling of these dramatic, historical and tragic human events. Isn’t this like Hamlet’s relationship to the players in his castle, how he needs to have them act out his father’s murder, not only to reveal Claudius’ guilt, but to believe it himself? Hamlet needs to see his own drama acted out with the truth of conviction, with the guiless presentation and simplicity of children playing, to know what he knows and feel what he feels.
I can say with confidence that I was there at the trial of Saint Joan; I experienced the thoughts with Ophelia that led her to drown herself. How often do we get this privilege in our lives, and do we trust our senses even when these real dramas are happening right in front of us. This is why we need theatre. And the less artifice the more art, the more art the less distractions from the story, the more story from the mind of the author, the more we get to learn, understand, feel and process our own tragic comedies. I mean lives.
And would you believe that only four players, Edmund Lewis, Andrus Nichols, Tom O’keefe and Eric Tucker play all the roles in both Hamlet and Saint Joan? And they are so relaxed, charming, engaging, nurturing…why is that? Because they are THAT GOOD. They know they have it in their loins, their auras, and their essences. No pomp and circumstance, I bet you could wake each one any time after midnight and get a Tony award winning performance of any character in their half sleep.
Be aware, you will be used in the set, spoken to in the play, and perhaps called upon to read an official church document about Saint Joan, which brings everyone to tears. Oh, to relive that moment. I have to go again. Will you please go experience Bedlam’s Hamlet and Saint Joan? You’ll be in the center of the “The Know”. Changed forever. But don’t bring too much crap and wear comfortable clothes, they move you around.
The Place is the Lynn Redgrave Theatre on Bleeker street. The inspiring Meredith Lucio produced it with Sarah Hancock, Ron Simons and others, and the extraordinary director is also an actor in both plays, Eric Tucker.
Sophie B. Hawkins
You know when people say about childhood, “it goes by so fast”? And when they say that I think, ‘I’m sitting at the table of this child’s life until there’s no place set for me, and then I’ll never pass up an invitation to come back and feast.’
We celebrated Dashiell’s fifth birthday and I remembered the day he came out of my body, how I felt when I saw him for the first time. I was delirious, yes, and I said, “I love you so much” over and over again, crying, and I understood Gd, Willa Cather, the plow, the bible, all religion, I understood without knowing what I understood Divinity, human beings like tendrils of the divine. When I met Dashiell in the flesh I saw his destiny. It was a presence that filled the room. It had a color, a deep violet, blue hue that shone from inside of him.
I feel we are all born with something. We are not Tabula Rasas, blank slates, but rather new trucks with an old load. Perhaps the surface of our slate has been wiped clean before we enter the earth experience, but our destiny is a code within us. The information cannot be erased. Orlando journeyed lifetime after lifetime until his/her destiny to be a writer at one with “the spirit of the age” was fulfilled.
We need bodies, we need landmarks to tell out tale, to struggle with other souls, we need friction, we need darkness and sorrow to create light, and joy. In waiting for Godot, which I saw last night, Gogo didn’t want to leave his pit, or getting beat up, he wanted his carrot and to forget. He reminded me so much of my father, and he was perfectly charming about it all. He was existence without meaning super imposed. Then Vladimir wanted hope, change, to find meaning however depressed it might make him, in the little moments. He also reminded me of my father. And he was waiting for death, but then it scared him. And all through the play there was that tree, a landmark in no-man’s land.
They were old men because the very young and the very old don’t have to be bothered with values and morals or even beliefs. Existence is the purpose and the question and the reason. Or not. Like in Hamlet, which I saw a few nights ago, Hamlet acts like a five year old. He struggles with every value and moral, destroys them all, and is left with the question of his existence.
To be, or not to be. That is the question. When we are born the effort is to be. When we are dying the effort is not to be. To let go, to accept the not being. And this simple breakdown of existence exists in every endeavor, in every relationship. There is a time when we have to be in it, around it, above it, beneath it, of it…and a time when it’s not to be, anymore. And then one might ask, “what did that mean, that existence?”
Is it more important to stay on track, or off the beaten path? Ask your destiny.