Last night two new actors joined us in rehearsals for “The Good Faith.” It’s hard to walk in cold to a show, especially a musical, but they fit in pretty easily, which made me feel good about the rest of the group. If we weren’t sneakily having fun, it wouldn’t be easy for new arrivals to fit in.
I love the microcosms. My scene partner was originally Frank D’Amico, with whom I’ve done several readings and a couple of short scene studies at the Telephone Bar poetry series. Frank had to quit and was replaced early on by Paul Albe, which was a wonderful surprise: Paul and I worked together back in about 1989 with the Arden Party Theatre Company, doing a summer season in Sandy Hook, New Jersey. We were in productions of Shakespeare’s “Love’s Labors Lost” (I played Nathaniel, the Excitable Curate) and Peter Weiss’ “Marat/Sade” (Marat), and Paul might also have been in our “Doctor in Spite of Himself” (Sganarelle). Every so often I’ll spot him in a movie, but we hadn’t seen each other in years.
That was a turbulent time - no, actually, we’re not going to discuss it now - and rumbling through rumblings past with Paul has reminded me how frantic the season was. It turns out I’ve basically forgotten, or “forgotten” (as they’d say in therapy, insert air quotes as desired), all but the most basic shape of that summer. Paul, who chose not to frolic in our Reindeer Games by the beach, remembers events much more clearly than I, and dredges up pearls from those distant harbors that leave me blinking and surprised.
I blame the solar flares. Damn solar flares get into everything.
One of the girls who joined last night looked familiar, in a she-sure-is-cute-do-I-know-her-or-am-I-making-that-up? kind of way. Her name, Christiane Szabo, sounded familiar too, and I just couldn’t quite place her. After rehearsal I braved the soak out to Williamsburg for a session with Pierre at the Spuyten Duyvil beer bar, and midway through a righteous shared bottled of Freeminer Deep Shaft Stout it came to me: I’d seen her name in the list of singers at this past September’s Dewey Beach Music Conference, where I was a speaker. Either she’s at home now trying to figure out who I am, or she didn’t come to my Indie Labels panel. Tsk.
Circles, circles. Most people who successfully come to terms with the City learn this simple lesson: New York really is a small town. A clumsy, brusque, arrogant, overgrown, self-indulgent and sometimes mean small town, but a small town at heart.