This past week has been a shifting blizzard of emotions, from great highs to staggering lows to, yesterday, walking around in a complete daze and running in to walls. Some of this stuff will have to be somewhat coded, and the things that aren’t coded are things I’m willing to have guesses made about. The stuff I don’t want even guessed, I’m probably not gonna address.

The theatrical disappointments and exhilarations keep coming at a hell of a clip, but let me start with a sort of metaphysical piss-fest.

I’ve seen a lot of theater, both by established writers and companies and by unknown people, and I’ve also performed in a fair swath of theater in the past twenty years. It used to be that I was loud with my opinion but privately unsure of my footing, but as I get older I find myself becoming quieter and more confident, which probably extends to almost everyone. I’ve gotten more secure in the sense that I know what I like, but I also know when things are good, even when I don’t necessarily like them.

I found myself watching American Idol the other night, about which I am going to speak as little as possible, the show so totally nauseates me. All of the contestants were asked to perform country numbers and all of them warbled their way through admirably. But the one judge made it clear that he hates country music, and after every single performer, he said he hated the song. Y’know, because he hates “country” music.

Ignoring the fact that labels like “country” and “pop” have nothing whatsoever to do with a song’s inherent attributes, but are instead descriptions of it’s production and style, to say you hate country music is to say two things 1) I believe I’m cultured and 2) I’m a fucking idiot when it comes to music. I was involved with a theater company (for about an hour) wherein the director said “I don’t like plays that have guns in them.” Which is equally as stupid.

If you don’t like “Stand By Your Man” or “Drop Kick Me Jesus Through The Goalposts Of Life” or whatever, then I understand, but when you throw out all of country music, you’re ignoring the fact that many pop albums on the market today have several different mixes depending on the market they are selling the single to. Jewel has as many version of her songs as possible, so that they would play on any and all channels. If you’ve heard “Underneath It All” without the reggae rap in the middle, you’re probably white and heard it in your car. “Country” doesn’t mean anything. At least with “Hip-Hop” you’re talking about a label that is embraced not as much a musical style as a culture,

Whatever, I’m totally off topic and I have work to do, so let me get to the point. I’ve learned to watch theater with an eye toward what the writers and producers were trying to achieve instead of merely wondering if it tickles me personally, and I’ve gotten pretty good at seeing the problems and pitfalls. But I do have place to tickle, and every once in a while, more often than I would admit, I either see something or am involved with something that I know is bound for greatness.

Without getting into specifics too much, when you feel that strongly about a piece and then it is overlooked or disregarded, it makes you really angry, but it also makes you feel, in a word, lonely. At least it does me. I go through my life feeling somewhat disenfranchised, lost in a sea of personalities and powerful positions, where people know without any ambivalence what is right and wrong, artistically, politically, sexually… and I feel marginalized somewhat, as I’m sure does almost anyone with average IQ or better.

But when something speaks to you and your hearstrings sing when you read it, or when you perform in it, and then for the world to pass it over without any real consideration, it makes you feel like you are crazy. An old friend of mine had a piece being considered for production and, after reading the play, I thought it was not just one of the finest bits of writing I had seen her do, but I felt like it couldn’t be produced at a better time with the political climate being what it is. The play asks questions, offers possible answers, and is funny as hell as well as being dark as… well, actually as dark as hell, literally. I’ve been stunned by failures of mine before, but this is one of the few times I took someone else’s setback completely personally.

On the flip side, Jordana, Mac and I were invited to be one of the writing teams for the 24 Hr plays, and that deserves a blog all its own. It was such a phenomenal success for us, in terms of having an idea and then some hours later seeing it completely realized. I have to write an email to the producer, so I’ll just post that. But it really was incredible, one of the funnest two days I’ve ever had in the theater.