Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The 13th of Paris (Livewire Theatre)

Please forgive me for interrupting your web-browsing, but I couldn’t help but wonder which play you were planning on seeing this weekend.

Please forgive me for speaking so boldly, but I think there is very little in this world more wonderful than a theatre patron hunched over a keyboard with a furrowed brow.

I thought, most likely, that you are purchasing a ticket to Wicked even though you have seen it several times. Wicked will be waiting to embrace you next Friday at 8pm. It will be warm, large, and loud. You will breathe deep and tell Wicked you have returned; you could not stay away. Wicked will say that you did not need to buy a ticket and come back. There are plenty of people in its vast auditorium to keep it company. But you will not listen. And Wicked will smile because Wicked knew you could not stay away; Wicked will be happy. You will cry. You will hum along. You will buy an original cast album at retail.

As you walk through the parking deck in a post-show daze, you will wonder why the Ozdust Ballroom didn’t sparkle like it did last time. Was Elphaba’s skin a little duller than it used to be? Did the flying monkeys not jump as high? Did they use non-Equity actors?

As you ponder these questions, you jump at the sound of a BMW squealing ‘round the corner, headlights and horn blaring, and realize you are alone. The love you felt was empty. Wicked only wanted one thing from you and you let it take it, you hussy. It was just so…so…predictable. You feel cheap, wounded. Dropping your keys, you lunge towards the purple-level elevator and press DOWN.

Emerging from the glass doors of the deck, the sting of incandescent light threatens your eyes with pin-pricks of orange mercury. Shielding your face and running east down Randolph, you stumble into the doors of the Puma store and pound for help. They’ve only just closed, though, and a pleather-clad twentysomething sneers at you as he extricates the store lights with a snap of phosphorescence.

You’re cold, now. Winds from the lake buffet your head and sneak down the collar of your shirt, rumbling through the poly-cotton tent. Strangers’ eyes sweep your sorry limbs, and look away. Still stumbling, you trip at the corner of Wabash and Lake, catching a mouthful of oil-drenched pavement. Reeling, you curse your own sorry lot and wait for the reprieve from this cruel world.

The L rumbles overhead and a shower of sparks dancing down the steel girders briefly illuminates a flapping corner of paper. Dragging yourself into the gutter, you peal back the triangle to reveal a squared, white leaf of gently penned script. Pulling the letter toward your uncertain eyes—catching the intoxicating aroma of sandalwood, vanilla, tea-tree, lemongrass, oak, and applesauce—you read:

Please forgive me for interrupting you, but I couldn’t help but wonder what you’re doing down here.

Forgive me for speaking so boldly, but there is very little in this world that is more wonderful than a theatre patron sprawled in a gutter.

I thought, most likely, that you came from a show that loved you very much. I hope it was a show full of hope. Did it stand with you on a balcony and share a sunrise? Were you asked to consider whether or not your fears could hijack an honest moment of bliss? Or if those same fears could be drowned for a bit with the water of an orange can?

I hope the show you saw asked you to believe that a gentle phantasm can firmly give us strength and insight to deal with the delusions we pollute our minds with. I hope the show you saw taught you to enjoy quiet moments. I hope it made you bold at cafes. I hope it taught you that pants are important. I hope it had Rob McLean in it.

So, please forgive me for interrupting you, but you see there is very little in this world that is more wonderful than a theatre patron sprawled in a gutter. If you saw a show that loved you like that…it must have been Wicked! Have you seen that thing?! Man, that thing is awesome!

A gentle pulse of blue decorates the underside of the L tracks as a mustached policeman stoops over and asks if you’re ok.

Yes, you say. Yes.

You stand. You wipe off your face, and head north.

The 13th of Paris: A-

-John Taflan


  1. WTF did this have to do with "The 13th of Paris?" The Reader would't have taken this shit from Bury St. Edmond back in the 80s.

  2. Nothing like having Anonymous come along and really put us in our place! Thanks for the page-view and keep on reading Reviews You Can Iews!