Quote of the day: RUIN

August 23, 2014

RUIN

“The Cabbages of Chekhov”

Some gamblers abandon carefully built houses
In order to live near water. It’s all right. One day
On the river is worth a thousand nights on land.

It is our attraction to ruin that saves us;
And disaster, friends, brings us health. Chekhov
Shocks the heavens with his dark cabbages.

William Blake knew that fierce old man,
Irritable, chained and majestic, who bends over
To measure with his calipers the ruin of the world.

It takes so little to make me happy tonight!
Four hours of singing will do it, if we remember
How much of our life is a ruin, and agree to that.

Butterflies spend all afternoon concentrating
On the buddleia bush; human beings take in
The fragrance of a thousand nights of ruin.

We planted fields of sorrow near the Tigris.
The Harvesters will come in at the end of time
And tell us that the crop of ruin has been great.

–Robert Bly

chekhov bly


Photo diary: midweek getaway to Cherry Grove

August 23, 2014

(click photos to enlarge)

FI 021FI 007FI 009FI 014FI 005FI 027FI 029FI 030FI 026FI 024FI 017


R.I.P.: Charles Marowitz

August 23, 2014

Reading the latest issue of American Theatre magazine, I belatedly discovered that Charles Marowitz died May 2 at the age of 80 from Parkinson’s disease. Marowitz was an American-born director, playwright, critic, and all-around man of the theater with whom I intersected at two significant moments in my life. In the first month of my freshman year at Rice University, I auditioned for the campus theater company the Rice Players’ production of A Macbeth, Marowitz’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s tragedy, and was cast as Duncan. (Can you say boy-king? I believe there was a lot of Streaks and Tips involved, and my first beard.) Marowitz created a kind of collage out of Shakespeare’s text, rearranging and repeating scenes and inviting a highly abstract production style, which is what appealed to Sandy Havens, the Rice Players’ adventurous director. For instance, in the first murder scene of the play, the three witches held me down while Lady M guided Macbeth’s sword as he stabbed me to death — not your usual way of playing that scene!

macbeth2

I’d never heard of Charles Marowitz before that, but he entered my young impressionable mind as a titan of the theater. It was only fitting, then, that when I started making my way in the world as a theater journalist (after graduating from Boston University with a BFA in acting) my first publication in a scholarly journal was an interview with Marowitz in Yale’s excellent Theater magazine. Joel Schechter was the editor then, and Colette Brooks was his trusty second-in-command. Marowitz had written a play about Antonin Artaud’s stint in a mental hospital, Artaud at Rodez, and it was getting its American premiere at Brandeis University. I’d just started writing theater reviews and features for the Boston Phoenix, under the tutelage of Carolyn Clay, and it meant a lot to me to get the assignment to meet with Marowitz and hear him talk about his engagement with Artaud, one of 20th century theater’s more enigmatic visionaries. The play wasn’t great (mostly I remember joking with Carolyn, trying to come up with a headline for her Phoenix review — “Society Steps on Artaud” was obviously too good to actually appear in the paper) but I treasured meeting the man (below). He lived up to his reputation as a sharp, opinionated intelligence.

charles-marowitz-2-jpg-20140505


From the deep archives: Charles Marowitz on Artaud

August 23, 2014

artaud coverArtaud1Artaud2Artaud3Artaud4


Photo diary: midweek getaway to Bucks County

August 16, 2014

(click on photos to enlarge)

8-15 017 8-15 021 8-15 022 8-15 009 8-15 012 8-15 013 8-15 014 8-15 016


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,409 other followers

%d bloggers like this: