Monday, July 14, 2008

Totally Blown Away

This has been a day of the most completely bizarre coincidences ever in the history of the world.

First I read Sarah's blog about bicycles and the fact that her acquaintance Amelia was killed on her bike Friday night (God rest the poor child). Well, if you recall, I went to see Anna Christie on Saturday night. After the show, me and Tom and Ingrid were waiting for our pal John outside the theatre when the gal playing Anna Christie came out, and one of the actors in the play said to her something like, "I'm so sorry. Will you be all right?" And then he walked back over to us (he was a friend of Ingrid's) and said, "Her girlfriend Amelia was killed on her bike last night."

Tonight I went to see my pal Jiggers play guitar and sing at the Anyway Cafe on Second Street, and I had grabbed a table in front of the bar (i.e., outdoors so I could smoke in peace and quiet - the bar windows and door were open so I could hear him perfectly well), and Jiggers' wife Kathy and I were sitting there listening and chatting and drinking (and in my case, eating - they've got red caviar and creme fraiche and crepes there and I was a very happy camper). Anyway, various of Jiggers' and Kathy's friends were floating about and would come over and I was introduced to them. One of these people was a gent named Julius.

So Julius and I started chatting and (and I can't remember how this one came up exactly - beer number five, I think), it turned out that we were both Chicagoans. Naturally (this is what we Chicagoans do) I asked what neighborhood, and he told me, and he said where did you go to school. I said Bateman, and he said, "So did I."

Well, quite frankly, I didn't pay a whole lot of attention to this, on account of - well, shit, it's a little complicated. Sometimes people in a bar will say exactly what they think you want to hear, you know? And The Bateman School was such a wildly peculiar place, and such an extremely small school (I don't think there were ever more than 200 people in it at a time, and it went from kindergarden through high school), that you never, EVER meet anyone who went there.

So I'm thinking, uh-huh, yeah, right, sure you did. When all of a sudden he says, did you know David Masur? At which point I let out some sort of wild shriek (which probably sounded something like - "HOLY MOTHER FUCKING SHIT YOU REALLY DID GO TO BATEMAN AND YOU KNOW DAVID MASUR?")

Turns out that Julius is some three hundred years my junior (like, in kindergarten when I graduated from high school), but did indeed go to Bateman, knows the teachers and all that happy horseshit. (We actually sat there and sang the school song - which, incidentally, is just awful - "We hold your torch aloft, dear Bateman School, proudly may you shine on us, your sons and daughters here" - etc. Gag.) Un-befucking-lievable.

So I had a absolutely WONDERFUL time tonight doing Chicago/Bateman lore with Julius (made even better by the fact that Jiggers and Kathy have both heard my stories about my entirely weird high school and there's finally someone who can back me up), and he may (if he can find it) give me the greatest damn gift in the whole world.

You see, in the back of the Bateman yearbook every year were the pictures of the senior class play from the previous year. Ergo, the senior class play for 1962 is in the back of my graduation yearbook for 1963. And since I never got the 1964 yearbook (why the hell would I and anyway I was off doing a show when it came out), I have never ever had any pictures of the world's most peculiar senior class play. And Julius thinks he has the 1964 yearbook!

We had at that point a drama teacher named Stan Sidlick, and he decided (kindly remember it was 1963) that we were going to bring Bateman into the 20th century and do something "really relevant." (Up until then the senior plays had been the usual run of You Can't Take It With You and Oklahoma.) Oh, yeah - now I remember. We were supposed to be showing our solidarity with the struggles for integration, that was it. By the way, this was a very expensive and very white prep school.

So Stan decided that we would do Green Pastures. I am fairly sure that few of my loyal readers have ever heard of this play, so here goes. It was written by Marc Connelly in the 1920's, and is the story of the Bible done by blacks (I think Paul Robeson played the lead but I'd have to look that up), and it all takes place at a fish fry attended by God and his angels - let me re-emphasize that it's an all black cast.

Well, we get the loaves and fishes, of course (it being a fish fry), and then eventually we get to the crucifixtion of Christ, with God (called, in this play, De Lawd - did I mention it's all written in "Negro dialect"?). So De Lawd looks down with his best friend Gabriel at his side, and says things like, "Oh, Gabriel, dey gonna make him carry dat heavy load."

Anyway, that was my senior class play, and I believe that we were the last white people on EARTH to actually appear in blackface. Because we all were - in blackface, I mean. And yes, my children, your mother did indeed play De Lawd (well, I was dating Stan at the time - I SAID that school was peculiar). When I think of bizarre, I think of all these nice little white kids smeared with black makeup in white choir robes, trying desperately to sing spirituals. I would KILL for photographs of that.

And today my actual SAG card came in the mail. Woo-hoo. Look at me. I'm a real card carrying actress. Now if any of those damn submissions I sent out on Casting Networks would pan out...

But wow. What a day. Oh, and I missed dancing on the pier last night on account of my stomach decided to do weird things at me and I didn't actually trust my internal organs to go to a place where I didn't know about the Porta-Potties. Ah, well - those dances go on every Sunday through the summer. I'll get there.

Love, Wendy

1 comment:

SaintTigerlily said...

Mmmmm, coincidences, even when they are sad in nature always make me happy. There is something about being instantly connected to a stranger that is so life affirming.

Also I'm really tired.