american angel notes from amsterdam – 21

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sunday, october 29, 2006 12.37

this is, arguably, my favorite spot in amsterdam. on this little dock of cafe t’smalle on egelantiers gracht just outside the prinsengracht. near a little bridge simply marked “124”. marked not to be identified by the public but for some city worker who might be involved in repairing it. bridges sometimes need repair i think of the williamsburg bridge. they have been working on it as long as i have known it. as long as i’ve been trying to cross it. i no longer have the need.

i just ordered the soep van de dag. i think it might be asparagus. i said ja to the waiter. and ordered the gerootke kip, sla, komkommer and kerriesaus. this comes with brood.

no plug on this dock. i have 61% of magic computer power left.

mark rosenthal has been cast to play cassiel in america. we have been in touch by email. he is the boyfriend of an old friend of mine. maureen jennings. she was cast to play masha to my vershinin and then the director went through 17 other masha’s before deciding to play the role herself. i remember throwing a chair backstage of the egyptian arena theatre in an argument with that director. i then quit the play. it was the time of the earthquake and the countless aftershocks.

i went back to the play in a day because i needed it. needed the sad optimism of vershinin. needed mamet’s ellipses and hyphens and italics. the year of the earthquake. it was another one of those seasons of loss. i learned a lot from natalija nogulich. i am grateful to these women who make me want to throw chairs. best to stay with things.

i will miss fedja. i have grown to like him very much. he is a good decent moral man. i carry the crystal angel his gal karrinna gave me in my pocket. i hold it from time to time and do, in fact, feel it’s power.

i so look forward to mark. the miracles he will bring. his story. i look forward to our american version.

i think i must stop calling myself “the american angel”.

this touring thing is hard to get a handle on. the work has been good, though, on the tour. there’s an uneasy anonymity to it that seems wrong. we rush away after the show. missing the possibility of further communion. among the troupe, a feeling of inconvenience. having to travel far, to play to small audiences. still, we have so much fun on the bus. talking. watching movies. complaining. i like to talk in the mike, but do it very poorly. become a bumbling 12 year old. i become a fake smile.

walter, who is in his 80’s made some crazy ass announcement into the mike, as we were leaving enschede on friday night. something to do with wanting to stay longer. maybe not so crazy.

i love amsterdam. the falling leaves.

“when the child was a child
he slowed his walk to school
pausing to catch falling leaves
with alan cox,
believing each leaf counted as one”

15.20

i am lost in Love. perhaps, the “serial monogamist” that mamet describes in his new book. i pray not. i am alone and my anchor is Christ. my sailboat is Christ. Christ the wind. and i am lost. lost in belief. i believe/i’m lost.
i awoke at about 4 in the morning and stayed up until about 6. i ran the lines of damiel. i pictured the movement. i night dreamed awake about the possibilities in performance. i was inspired in what bergman called “the hour of the wolf”. the dead of night.

“the still point of the turning world.”

the big challenge with damiel, i think, is how to express the desire. what is the affect. the behavior. the words are clear;

“to conquer for myself a story, a history, a past. to exchange all i’ve learned from an eternity of gazing downwards to experience a quick glance, a short cry, a sharp smell. how i long to be one of them. to see with their eyes. to hear with their ears. and to decipher how they experience time. how they learn about death. how they feel love. how they perceive the world.”

last night in my hour of the wolf, i also found myself reading dante’s inferno. it strikes me now that the world that damiel occupies is a kind of purgatory. he is caught between two worlds.

like mobil (limbo) ave in THE MATRIX. where my scenes took place. it was no where. somewhere between the matrix and the machine world. the transition place. this is the world i must explore. live in. surrender to. long to escape. the “no man’s land” between being an angel and a human. going from observation to participation. and the world that damiel clearly occupies is this space of not belonging. the space of the immigrant. of the one in exile. dante’s purgatorio.

the place of being lost.

so now, time to shut the fuck up. count my blessings. embrace this beautiful play that i am swimming in. right in the heart of it. lost at sea. i pray only for the land to appear when it does. soon i will turn my attention to boston. robert frost begins as my guide.

THE AMERICAN PILOT, this play i said no to, opens in new york next week. been emailing lynne meadow a bit to wish her and the production well.

robert frost reciting THE ROAD NOT TAKEN came on my ipod this morning. the ipod in God mode (they call it “shuffle songs”). i realized in the hearing it is essentially NOT about “the road less travelled”, that i had believed it to be. in fact, i thought that was the title. it is not about being original and going the hard way. it is about the aliveness of the choice. that one must choose and travel. and that makes all the difference.

this has led me into frost. i learn today; his wife’s name was the same as my mother. elinor white.

the poem he was suppose to read at jfk’s inauguration, he couldn’t, because of the glare of the sun on the snow. he recited instead one from memory; THE GIFT OUTRIGHT. it has these lines for damiel;

“the land was ours before we were the land’s. . .
possessing what we still were unpossessed by,
possessed by what we now no more possessed.
something we were withholding from our land of living,
and forthwith found salvation in surrender.”

wondrous skateboarding andris, who will be in our play in cambridge, is having trouble with the school thing. mam says, this week he’s doing better. frost had great trouble with his early schooling. his mother ended up home schooling him for awhile.

mothers and sons. God bless them all.

ola, sammi.
mam, andris.
amy, bodhi.
kim, sam.
anne, john.
syd, harry.
elinor, robert.
eleanor, bernie.
margaret, paul.

wim emailed me saying he was being requested by the nytimes to answer questions regarding our production. he said he would if in fact they were talking about our play. i hope he makes it to our play.

i hope you make it, wim. november 25 thru december 17 in boston. or maybe, to the netherlands in the next week and a half. rotterdam, den bosch, maastricht, utrecht.

i am learning about peter stuyvessant now.

i wonder if by doing a play in cambridge one can get some kind of honorary degree from harvard. will i be able to say now that i went to harvard? yes, i will.

good morning, boston.

love,

bernie

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