Friday, November 02, 2001

Theatre People

This week (Tuesday, to be exact) I went to opening night of Three Sisters. This Anton Chekhov play is currently running at the Yale Repertory Theatre but is actually the first student show of the year from the Yale School of Drama. Keith Obadike (my husband and collaborative partner) was assisting the sound designer.

I remember enjoying reading Chekhov, but I've never seen Chekhov performed before. This version was beautifully put together. I especially liked these few magical moments in which the lighting and speaking changed. Sometimes the sound was this toy piano music (I'll tell you who did that album in a sec) and sometimes it was the sound of wind blowing. The actress who played Masha (Jeanine Seralles) acted the hell out of that role. This is going to seem crazy, but she sort of played Masha a la Karen Walker (Megan Mullaly's character on Will & Grace). I know it doesn't sound right, but let me tell you, it worked.

But anyway, I'm writing because afterwards we went party-hopping between the party for Kingdom of Earth (the actual Yale Rep show that's going on now) and the party for Three Sisters, which was very nice. The Three Sisters party was in a club with food and drinks and lights. I sat around, talked, watched people dance, and then began to think about what a different kind of thing theatre is from poetry.

Maybe when you do a reading or have a book come out, you have a party and you eat and drink and dance. And in poetry having a community is certainly good for the work. It takes a lot of people to pull off a reading or a book or even sometimes just one poem. Still, poetry is such a solitary thing.

For Three Sisters there is a sound designer an assistant sound designer and a sound operator. Who knows who else is involved in the making or collecting of the sounds. This is not to mention the lighting design, costuming, set design, acting, directing, etc. They're all so dependent upon one another to do what they do.

Am I jealous? Well, maybe not so much.

On the one hand, I do think it would be nice to have a large community with which to celebrate or commiserate, whichever the case may be. I do work collaboratively with Keith, but that's different because we already have to depend on one another for so many things. When I think about us doing large scale productions (some of which are in the works as I write), I think how wonderful it will be to be surrounded by all these people with all these creative ideas, who do such different things.

On the other hand, it is kind of nice to still have a genre for which my duty is to sit in my room and rack my own brain. Poetry is that something I can do by myself, and that is one of its virtues.

Mendi Lewis Obadike

old comments:

I'm thoroughly enjoying your (and Keith's) website.

Posted 11/5/2001 at 12:14 PM by hairlessmunkee

it's also nice that you hold sole responsibility for the success/quality of your work. film is another collaborative art, and let me tell you, it SUCKS when, for instance, you're pre-produced your ass off, gathered actors willing to work for food and a good time, coaxed cooperation out of MTA employees, and spent two weekends w/excellent performances and fabulous natural lighting, only to find that the DP made some crazy camera mistake and almost all of the footage is trash, unusable, fit only to be taped over for home movies or something. aaargh! the pain!

still bitter over a 7-month olld shoot? yes, and i can't front. theater (and other such collaborative arts) truly are spectacular when they come together and shine like an underwater song of perfectness, but when they don't, and especially when they don't because of one or two people dropping their side of the collaboration juggle, DAMN i wish at those moments i was a poet.

enjoy your solitude, bomb poet woman. i know you're working it.

Posted 11/6/2001 at 9:09 AM by honeychild

Hi you guys. I just sent you a message that got erased. Boo. Anyway, I basically said thanks for the love. Please email me if you have more to say about the website, hairlessmunkee. honeychild, I wrote a long thing about collaborative work, my excitement about what's coming next and my fears. Best to enjoy what you've got when you've got it, no?


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