Note From Jon


Thursday, January 10, 2008

Busy? Who, me?

It’s been a busy 24 hours. I’ve experienced 30 plays, one lecture, and two of D.C.s finest quick-eat establishments—Julia’s Empanadas and The Amsterdam Falafelshop. It certainly helps that 29 of the plays were performed in just over an hour as part of the umbrella work Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind, which is the longest title of a piece I remember seeing: so long in fact that on the ticket it merely lists it as the initials (or acronym, if you can figure out how to pronounce it) TMLMTBGB.

My audience-member marathon began with Journeymen Theater’s preview of Pedro Calderon de la Barca’s Life’s a Dream. While arriving at Golden Hour (6:30 pm) is helpful for parking it isn’t necessary for getting a preview ticket to the show (unlike my previous experience with a Pay What You Can at Woolly Mammoth Threatre when a 6:30 arrival meant a line around the corner and no shot at a ticket). While I don’t intend to review the show, Darren and I did feel it was worth our time and money. Some memories from the show include,

  • experiencing a play from the 1600s translated into English, which I assume gives a rough idea of what it must be like for a foreigner to watch Shakespeare translated into their native language (able to focus on the plot rather than deciphering the lines),
  • actor Rex Daugherty providing the comic highlight of the show when he makes the best of his imprisonment by turning his manacles into musical instruments,
  • and Darren eventually realizing that the two main actors were in the previous play he saw: Ambition Facing West (which may lead to the creation of our own personal IMDB—okay, a spreadsheet—of DC theatre).

The marathon continued today with Peter Mumby’s lecture on Thresholds and the Resilience of Coral Reefs . While perhaps not as juicy as his lecture a couple days earlier on Parrotfish sex, this one certainly captivated the audience of scientists, and was even presented clearly enough for me to follow along (though I wish someone would write a wiki on “coral recruitment” so I knew exactly what that meant). To sum up my understanding of the lecture, there are two stable equalibria for a reef ecosystem: coral dominant or algae dominant. A reef will approach one of these states depending on which side of a threshold curve it falls on. A reef’s location relative to the curve is determined by the existing percentage of coral coverage on one axis and the percentage of the reef that can be grazed by local fauna (primarily Parrotfish in the Caribbean) in a six month period on the other axis. The resilience of a reef is defined as the probability that it will stay on the coral dominant side of the threshold. Because of the threshold nature of the system, a small change for a reef that is right near the threshold will have far greater consequences than a larger change for a reef that isn't near the threshold. The important thing to consider when managing a marine ecosystem or determining the cost effectiveness of management options is to prevent the reef from crossing the threshold towards the algae dominant stable state. Trust me, his presentation was much more compelling—at least to the ladies, probably because of his accent. But hey, this is called Note to Jon after all and I want to remember the lecture…

But the highlight of this endurance event was definitely the 29 plays of TMLMTBGB (we ran out of time to see the 30th play, which in this case would have been #26 My Family in 2D). We were led to our seats by Greg Allen, who AB mistook as an usher, but who actually is the Founding Director of the Neo-Futurists (oops), which have been performing variations of this show in their home town of Chicago since 1988. The show was then introduced by a handsome, articulate man (the description he asked us to use, as best I can remember) who encouraged the audience to go right home after the performance and tell everyone to get on the internet and purchase tickets to the show before it ends this weekend since tickets are going fast and every performance deserves to be sold out… and since I agree with that assessment I am doing just that. Without spoiling any of the 29 plays (which the audience request by numbers that literally hang above the stage, and which must be performed before the 60 minute timer runs out, or you just don’t get to see them all!), if these are on your menu, don’t let them be the one(s) hanging from the clothesline when the buzzer sounds:

  • Mr. Science Demonstrates Othello, which wins for best use of props,
  • The Dobler Effect, which involves about the most intimate audience participation you can get away with legally,
  • Pastie On My Dick, which shouldn’t require much imagination,
  • Low Stakes/High Drama, which is exactly that,
  • Veterans Day: July 4th Edition, which is a poignant change of pace,
  • The Lamb May Lie Down With the Lion (But She Doesn’t Get A Lot Of Sleep), which I really hope isn’t autobiographical,
  • and, my personal favorite, Moonlit Threatre Presents: The Apollo 11 Lunar Landing, which will ensure that you never think about a moon landing the same way again.

AB is the proud owner of the numbered sheet for the concise play, Republican Compassion in Action, and through my die roll on the stage at the end of the show I am responsible for ensuring that 3 plays will be swapped out on the January 11th performance (it’d have been 6 plays if I remembered to let AB blow on the die). So go check it out and if you find out what The Chair is or you get to see My Family in 2D, let me know…

1 comment:

Jan Louis said...

Whew!! thanks for not putting up spoliers, since I am seeing TML on Saturday (& yes I had tiks for 2 days already before you posted this. These guys sell themselves!)