>awake, but still i’m dreaming and never waking up
>countdown to london-proper: T minus 3 days
last night was one of those moments that will live on forever as one of the best experiences of my life. we were ready for the worst. we knew the show itself was good, but we were worried no one would actually show. but they came (if you build it…..).
friends. coworkers. old classmates. professors. former roommates. even some of you random blog readers. just those who’d heard about it. and the place radiated with the energy of a full house.
layne got up on stage before the show began to say a few words. “few” is not an accurate description of the heartfelt address he gave. he spoke about how we first met, how some great playwrights have come out of the passe muraille box office, and how doing this workshop has made his 2007 so far the best year. then, with shakey knees and adrenaline propelling me somewhere familiar and strange, brendon and i emerged out the shadows of the theatre and filled the lights.
glancing into the audience i saw faces i once knew – victoria p, my childhood best friend whom i used to take baths with! belarie z, my professor and supervisor for my masters. tammy j, my old roommate. sue, paula and layne like a cheering squad. anya, jesse, richard, caitlin, optimuscrime toronto, ann, vicki, and jess occupying the corners of the theatre. then random strangers, mouths closed, ears open.
the first scene shocked us. brendon and i are just going through what we think is a dull scene, and the audience is cackling and laughing at the jokes and spots we’d forgotten were funny. it was really hard to keep a straight face when the audience surprises you with the roars. actually, as the scenes progressed and the audience grew vociferous with debilitating laughter, i had to either turn my face away from the audience or try to cover my face because their laughter infected me. like a pathogen.
and i know exactly whose laugh did me in too. sue and layne, damn you. their laughs just threw me for a loop.
it’s been so long since one of my plays was staged, and even longer since i’ve been on stage. it felt like coming home, like resting where my head and gut and heart belong. as the lights dimmed and the applause began, to roars, the cheers, the ovations, i was taken aback. never knew this feeling. at least, not for a long time. in the past, written so many shitty plays, had performed like paint-drying, finally finding a winner.
people flooded the greenroom, praise and hugs. shocked by the response, i’d written and performed something that resonated. they said it was the right blend of funny and touching, sweet and cheeky, smart and cocky. i wish i was making this stuff up. i wish i had to lie to make me look good. i wish this was ego talking. but it wasn’t from my lips, but theirs. i just revelled in it.
even more flooded the party afterward. a rush of people to my side. all i heard was ‘dynamic’ and ‘compelling’ and ‘beautiful’ and ‘lyrical’ and ‘poetic’ and ‘funny.’ is this the best moment, i think so.
my friends, oddly enough, have always been my toughest critics, but the fact that they were uproarious with their praise made me soar. i think only a few people’s opinions really mattered to me – belarie, because she’s like a second mother to me, sue & paula, cuz they know bad and good theatre when they see it, layne (of course), and optimuscrime toronto’s because she’s seen my writing evolve since adolescence and knows what this means to me (read her lovely shout-out to me on her page, i’m sitting in tears reading it.)
the rest was the cherry. the icing. the rainbow. the pot of gold. i circulatd the party like a butterfuly, not believing how allof this was really for me. i could see layne talking to all these people, telling them how much he believes in me. he’s probably the best friend i’ve ever had.
inexplicably, however, he disappeared into the night without saying goodbye. not to me. not to anyone. perplexed and worried, because that’s not like him at all. i’m leaving in 3 days, i probably won’t see him again. why would he leave? i never got my hug. i never got to say goodbye.
midnight rolled around and the party thinned to just me, brendon, paula, tara, and kaumil. blasting my party cd, paula suggested, as my last act as a TPM stagger, i get up on the mainstage and dance. i ran like a riot, hit the centre stage, and spun like my feet were on acid. jumping and gyrating, singing and acting ridiculous, they all joined me, until i finally collapsed on the stage floor, and stared up into the lighting grid. i looked around my theatre, in my last moments there, and wanted to sleep.
finally, it was time to go home. i was the last to leave like i’d planned. standing on the street, waving goodbye to everyone, begging it not to end.
called a cab.
and as i sped through the city, in the velvet black of night, rain pelting the windshield, i rose upon the gardiner expressway which overlooks the cityscape. beautiful, majestic. my cn tower. my skyscrapers. my parks. my waterfront. my city.
i put my head back on the leather seat, closed my eyes.
the last line of the play hit me.
and you wonder what to do next.
some photos from the party last night, taken by jess:
sonja . . . you’re perpetually late to everything, but i wuv u.
oddly enough, that morning, jess asked me to be her burn victim.
paula and i are laughing at the expense of emo kids and goths.
“i wish my grass was emo so it would cut itself.”
“i’m so goth i pee darkness.”
“i’m so goth i poo melancholy.”
aren’t we clever?
she took a video with her camera last night of me dancing on the stage to the spice girls. i smell an e! true hollywood story moment.