Thursday, December 25, 2008

Shakespeare does it Again!

“There is a Destiny that shapes our ends,” the best of the poets said, and of course he was and is Right On. What has happened to our country, even though it looks just now like a disaster, I believe will be its salvation. Had the economy not caved, there was a good chance the election might have gone the other way, and the deep inhalation and release, the breath of fresh air that has come as the result, even with the bad times, might well restore us all. Or, at least, get us back to our starting principles, which were almost as good as if Shakespeare had written them.
The downside of course is the way it appears on the immediate surface: the men lined up in shifting disarray outside the 7-11 on Sawtelle and Santa Monica look like the shape-up in ‘On The Waterfront.’ But the sadness is strung with hope, like Christmas lights, and it is doubtless for the best that we’ve cut back on the tinsel.
The direct effect (or is it affect?) on me is that I am moving back full time to New York, to inhabit the studio apartment left me by my mother, that rescue effected(I’m sure there, anyway) by the smarts of my cousin Rodney who got her money back from Bernie Madoff. I am also looking forward to resurrecting my musical comedy, which the times have made completely believable, about my mother (raised to mythic proportion,) who, towards the end of her life, rather than grow old, crashed parties, looking for love and free hors d’oeuvres. I am sanctifying that bravado(see also chutzpah) by making the character a widow whose husband left her a co=op on Park Avenue, and just enough money to pay the maintenance, so crashing is not optional, but the only way she gets to eat. She will have given her portfolio to Bernie Madoff, so everybody will understand. To cut back on costs, since theater, too, is in the loo, it will take place on an empty stage with one chandelier dangling crookedly into what was once an elegant room, as she’s had to sell her furniture. But why not the theater? I mean, since it’s going to be uphill for everyone, why not take on a mountain. So I return to my first and most favorite career, that of songwriter(there’s a very uplifting score, and as ‘White Christmas,’ the saccharine adaptation of the sugary Bing Crosby movie of long ago,also starring Rosemary Clooney) had just outmoneyed ‘Wicked,’ which can only be explained by the fact that people want to hear real songs. And that I think is what I have, as sung on a demo by Rosemary Clooney, who, as you may know, liked the score so much she recorded it for me in exchange for sandwiches for the musicians. So though I may not be loaded for bear, I have, in my heart, ammunition to stave off creatively the wolf at the door.
Speaking of ‘Wicked,’ I took my grandboys to see the LA production so they would have a memory of their first musical theater with Granny. We were late and so had to watch the first twenty minutes on a monitor, but I decided that was probably a good things because they are TV addicts(mostly football,) so it was something they understood. Then, when the usher showed us in in the middle of the act—we had seats 2nd row center—it must have seemed to them as it seemed to us as children, when in The Wizard of Oz it suddenly turned into color. What had been for Lukas and Silas another TV experience, blazed into Stage (More-than) Presence. So it ended up being an okay thing, that we were late.
But I will try to be on time for my next act, hoping the plane lands all right next Monday night when I return to take New York on. There is a line in one of my novels, probably one of those not published in a world that suddenly closed its doors and a few fell off their hinges, where a funny, feisty heroine looks out at the lights beneath her windows, and shouts; “I’ll get you yet!” I don’t know that I can make that come to pass, but the truth is, you just never know. The original story I wrote when little more than a tot, that became the movie ‘What a Way to Go’ has been optioned (amazingly I kept the theater rights in my deal with Fox) and the man who has it, a clever music maker and producer, is making sounds like it’s really going to happen. So I might just have two musicals going at the same time.
Why not? There is a not only a Destiny that shapes our ends, but one that also shapes our Continuings.
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a Goodnight.