We’re in the final two weeks of the life of King Lear, and after July 2, the production will be retired. It’s been a grand two and a half years, but after the great satisfaction of doing a condensed three weeks in our own home town, it’s time already. We’re working on a new solo clown piece for me, Survival, and it will start previews in August. Hail and Farewell, Lear.
Then what? Where do these people go? We already have eighteen bins of puppets in our storage. I don’t think any of them like being shut up in bins, but there you are. For years we had a life-sized foam-rubber-body King Louis (from Marie Antoinette) who entertained all manner of people by appearing in unexpected places, and he’s been a totally reliable lighting assistant for Conrad. He sits on his flat butt on a stool, even at 3 AM, and assists on focusing lights. Better him than me.
But here we are in our late 70’s, facing eventual dissolution, hip-deep in stuff. We’re moving as fast as we can to transfer old videos of past productions to digital media. A beloved colleague from Lancaster had a request from her record company for other archival music, so I dug back in our old cassette tapes to resuscitate and transfer what she wrote for Beside Herself and Loveplay. Now I need to do the same restoration for my own music, which goes back many decades. Otherwise, it will disappear from the face of the earth.
We have kids. It has become blazingly evident to us that we need to pare things down, preserve the valuables, and leave a comprehensible legacy. Eli and Johanna do not need to be faced with cartons of old MasterCard statements. It’s an interesting exercise to survey what you see in a room and say, what needs to be here? What’s worthy of keeping?
I think it would be a good gig to do this all along the way, to keep purging and cleansing. The times we have done a big move have always resulted in a temporary state of zen purity. I aspire to clarity and space. So mote it be.
Begging the indulgence of my atheist friends…
I think we’re likely to see a major court case. Could go all the way to the Supremes. God is going to file a lawsuit for defamation of character. Not to those who deny Its existence—It doesn’t really give a shit if you believe or disbelieve, given that the Law of Gravity will splat you, whatever catechism you confess. But the fact is, It just gets royally pissed by those taking Its name in vain.
It never told any bunch of scraggly desert rats to smite the Amalekites, man, woman, baby, camel and ass. It never saved one puny asshole from the airline crash while letting the other 300 jerks go down in flames. It never molested a virgin to produce a son intended for torture. It never gave two shits about who we elected. It’s been building a case for millennia, and it won’t be long till it comes to trial.
There aren’t many court precedents for libel on divinity. “Blasphemy” is a crime here and there, but long term state-sponsored defamation hasn’t really had its day in court. The Book of Job makes a case against our presumption to anthropomorphize the intentions of the Universal Presence, but it does so in context of a bet between Yahweh and Satan—both stereotypes to the core.
God wants a clear court decision that absolves it of the stupidities perpetrated in Its name. Who can say what damages It may claim or how we pay for them—in a deep sense we’ve already paid—but it’s going to be on the calendar, and I’ll definitely file an amicus brief.