Got some excellent news concerning my play One Bear Lake. There are two versions of the play: A 10 minute version, and a full-length version. I am excited to announce that both versions will be produced in local Charleston theaters.
On May 6 and 7, One Bear Lake, as well as six other 10 minute plays will be performed at South of Broadway Theatre’s PlayFest. Unlike in previous years, these won’t be staged readings. All the plays will be performed without the scripts in hand. I attended the first rehearsal, and I was grinning the whole time. The actors are phenomenal, and the direction is in the exceptional hands of Linda Eisen. Here’s the astonishing part. Tickets to see these seven plays are only $5.00. That’s insane! Beer, wine, and other refreshments will be available at reasonable prices, as well. You can’t not go if you life in the Charleston area. Here’s a link to purchase tickets in advance: PlayFest 2016
In January of 2017, the full-length version of One Bear Lake will get a real, honest to goodness production by the good folks at 5th Wall Productions. It will be co-directed by the talented duo of Blair Cadden and Jason Olson, the founders and head honchos of the theater. Cast ideas have been bandied about, but nothing is set in stone yet. I will keep you posted as things progress.
It’s very special to me that these two theaters will be producing the two versions of the play. I developed the 10 minute version through Second Sunday’s at 7, a playwrights group that meets at South of Broadway Theatre, and I developed the full-length version at 5th Wall Productions’ Writers Bloc program, and additionally, a special staged reading in their theater. In other words, the supportive and talented group of artists that helped me shape the two versions of the play are the same ones that will be involved in the productions. You can’t ask for a better community than that.
I was in a used bookstore recently, and they had Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace for $1.50. It was in pristine condition, as if it had never been read. That made me sad, so I bought it. I had been threatening to read the book for years now, but I never could bring myself to buy it at full price. I just didn’t think it was for me. It’s dense. It’s philosophical. It’s been called a work of genius. While I am dense, I’m barely philosophical, and as far from a genius as you can get. I had it in my mind that I was not worthy of this book, that it would beat me into a puddle of self-doubt about my own writing and leave me weeping at my lack of talent, that the book would somehow judge me for calling myself a writer.
Well, I couldn’t have been more wrong. The book is incredibly accessible. The high praise for it by critics is merited, but I think it also does it injustice. By elevating it to an iconic status, the critics scared readers away, and I think it even gave people the wrong impression of Wallace. All this time I thought he was like Maude from the Big Lebowski, militantly artistic, when he was more like The Dude, just a guy who was beautifully confused, and all he really wanted was someone to replace his rug. If you’re baffled by my analogy, see the part where I warned you that I’m barely philosophical, and I’m no genius.
The point is that I’m sorry I took so long to read this book. I don’t know why, but I feel like I somehow cheated Wallace by not connecting with this book while he was alive. I’ve started watching interviews with him in an effort to learn more about him, and it’s obvious he was not comfortable with the attention. He liked the praise, but he didn’t want to be defined by it. I think he felt an unavoidable fall from grace on the horizon, and in his own mind he constantly wrestled with having to deal with the day that he would inevitably be exposed as a fraud and let everyone down. That’s what makes depression so fucking evil. It doesn’t just make you feel unhappy. It completely redacts any thoughts of joy from your life and leaves you with a head full of lies about who you really are and what you really mean to others.
Anyway, Infinite Jest is awesome. That’s my review. I’m not nearly finished, and I’m going to savor the story for as long as I can, but as engrossed as I am now, I don’t anticipate that my view will change. In closing, I found this short film using a commencement speech that Wallace gave as the soundtrack. Do yourself a favor and watch it. Bookmark it and watch it whenever you need to be reminded that everyone is dealing with their own shit.
The light hit the house next door and formed the image below. Clearly, God wanted my attention.
I think he is trying to tell me to buy more batteries (look closely at the image below, and you’ll get it.)