american angel notes from amsterdam – 3

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tuesday 8/29/06

wonder where i’ll live after december 17. once i’ve lost my wings.

and then there’s the question of God. and the fact that so many churches i’ve approached here are no longer churches. they are restaurants or music academies or apartment buildings even, i think. i have still not found my daily mass.

i hear there’s one on de kalverstraat. hidden amongst all these garish tourist shops. across the street from a mcdonalds. i imagine i’d have a mistrust for religion, too, if i witnessed what this place witnessed during the nazi’s foaming at the mouth. if religion was unable to stop that shit or worse to even seem to turn a blind eye or even worse to contribute i would want to turn the churches into something seemingly more useful.

a church is of utmost use to me. i think of the church near ground zero. st. paul’s. that remained standing, unharmed as the tower’s and all those buildings fell right next door. that church is thriving now.

the irony being amsterdam and all of europe, new york, too, could use a really good church right about now. and not just as a museum. but as a living challenging den of real revolution. this place of angelic love. a place of listening. where you sense God listens. but more importantly where we get quiet enough to begin to get a sense of our listening to God.

open doors. back and front. perhaps that’s what we’re trying to do in the theatre. it’s certainly what wim’s and our play is about. this homage to storytellers and their angel listeners. the misunderstandings that explode when we talk too much. the shit that piles up when we don’t listen.

in the world of our play, only angels can see other angels.

good morning,


wednesday. 8/30/06

the clouds are really low here. it’s rained almost the whole time.

“tonight a little rain never hurt no one” sings tom waits.

it’s 7:30 in the morning. or simply 7:30 as opposed to 19:30.

i’m the “american” angel.

we americans in order to build a more perfect union. . . we should do an american tour of this piece. at least to parallel our netherlands tour. boston makes sense. philadelphia would also make sense. new orleans could use us. pittsburgh. detroit. of course, new york. ending in la ciudad de la reina de los angeles.

we americans in order to build a more perfect union. . . as jesse put it, quite literally, amsterdam is a labyrinth. to wander this city is to get lost.

“and may the first step be to lose your way.” -galway kinnell

our rehearsals are organized chaos. this is ola’s way. it is as beautiful as amsterdam.

making sure the bills back home are paid. figuring out the cell phone deal here. figuring out traffic patterns. both on the streets and in rehearsal.

we americans in order to build a more perfect union. . . seek the familiar. are willing to get lost. the language thing has been challenging in rehearsal. the dutch when needing to express the more subtle creative shit revert to dutch and go off for stretches at a time. it’s what peter brook talked about and every human before and after him has experienced; the question of when to surrender and when to fight. when to accept the confusion as the way out of the confusion versus trying to affect a change.

i announced in rehearsal yesterday that i think it would be good to understand these dutch conversations. i feel this way especially when ola and fedja speak about damiel. since i will be playing damiel in america. but then again. . . their conversations are there conversations. what angels do is listen. this is the clearest thing that has emerged for me. angels listen. angels listen to the storytellers. no matter how genius or stupid the story. without judgment. with investment, though. and also with some deep and profound understanding. and empathy.

i think when in doubt while playing this angel, i ought to return to listening. to surrender. not to fighting.

i am the american angel.


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