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SWEARING OFF

September 11, 2009

This was just going to be about me swearing off entering film festivals, considering film festivals, reading about film festivals, worrying about film festivals, et al on the advice of Gayle who remembers me complaining about nearly frying my computer every time I think I ought to enter one. So Blink Kitty Love is going to continue its merry musical way without the imprimatur of the Nick Animation Fest — which does look fun + is free to enter so points for them (entries closed for this year; try next if that’s your flavor). But there I am looking for approval or safety or a production deal again, and I’m not sure that’s what I’m actually trying to conquer — not that I’d turn down a production deal ; ) And I really do nearly fry my computer every time.

But (second half swearing off reference, cue segue)…

Entertainment Weekly listed its top 20 animated films ever and not only do they have Chicken Run in (instead of Fantasia for instance), one of the main criteria seems to be will it make you, the viewer, cry. The goal is not even like that of old school tragedies — will you learn a lesson while someone’s eyes are being plucked out offstage and tears are being rent unwilling from yours or as you just stare at the stage in horrified understanding, just maudlin basic level Dumbo separated from his Mom issues. The easy stuff. That and September 11th references + articles, made me remember when and why I swore off tragedies for the summer Shakespeare Theatre Under The Trees experience.

September 11, 2001 I had a touring show rehearsal (acting) in the morning, Gayle had a day off, Beau was a little past teenager + living with us…I walked into the theatre some time after nine (I am not prompt in the morning; rehearsal started at 8:30 a.m. Diane plans around me). There was an atmosphere I hadn’t felt since the watching the Challenger disintegration at Northwestern’s student center or the couple of times I listened to the World Series on the radio (one of those times was in college, in an effort to study while it was happening — total fail; the other was grade school when I had a manic Phillies fan as a teacher). All of the parents were huddled around the table, a news type voice was saying something about Logan airport and I remembered my sister lived in Boston. And so I jumped to the conclusion that something had happened there. Then the full + awful story unwound while the rapt silence continued. I found a phone to call the still sleeping Gayle, so glad that both she + Beau were safe and that I knew where they were. I was still worried about the Boston branch of the family. My father watched the Towers fall from the roof of the plant he worked at in Rahway, NJ, came home that night and hung up an American flag from the eaves.

So that summer, the plan was to do Julius Caesar. I had even applied for a Nike grant — I thought football uniforms and a sports theme might add an interesting flavor. But one afternoon, I just decided not to watch people die on stage. If I did it well (and I planned to), it would be riveting + horrifying. That wasn’t what the universe needed. I asked myself, because it suddenly seemed possible, if the world were going to end, what play would I regret not doing. I had always loved Beatrice + Benedict; the wonderful wordplay that was their relationship. So the summer of 2002 turned into the summer of Much Ado About Nothing. And I continue to shake my head at gifted comedians who would rather play Ophelia than Beatrice or Rosalind or Olivia(although one of them recently told me she’d rather play Gertrude than Ophelia; it’s a much better part.)

September 11, 2001…so much happened then + since. My thoughts are with the victims’ friends + families and the soldiers who fight for our country. I often think they all deserve better politicians.

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