We’re running the show just about every day in the rehearsal hall now, and I’m learning a lot. There are some sections that are still rough, but other places where we’re fine tuning, and that’s very exciting – you can really feel a PLAY happening. And yesterday we had a costume parade – everyone trying on costumes and milling around to see how we all look together. David Reynoso has done a terrific job of designing costumes that look fabulous, place us immediately in England, and are good to act in. I’ve got these bell bottoms and a pair of snakeskin shoes that instantly transport me back in time. I was born in 1976 – the year after this play premiered – so it’s especially fun for me to imagine.
I was disappointed to remember, however, that the first Clash album wasn’t released until 1977 – I had been thinking that Foster probably listened to a lot of The Clash on his days off. Dvorjak in the house, The Clash and Laura Logic and Cockney Rejects on his own time. And, since nobody will ever know exactly what Foster’s been listening to, I think I’ll stick with it. It’s exciting and accentuates the class divides peculiar to England in the ‘70’s that have informed my Foster a lot. A changing of the guard. I don’t know what generation X meant to England, but if Hirst is a great old poet in the T.S. Eliot line, I imagine Foster trying to write the next great Howl, or following in the footsteps of Duchamp and writing his verses on the wall above a urinal at the National Gallery.
Life outside the hall is stressful right now, with school ending and the next great phase beginning. I had good response to my showcase performances, and am thankful to have solid interest in my work. But that still leaves the great New York/L.A. debate raging, and I’m just about broke, which makes decision making more complicated and even more stressful. I try not to obsess, but I do have sort of an obsessive brain, so sometimes I fall into that inescapable mental roundabout. “Big Ben kids…Parliament.”
I got back to Vermont on Monday, and took a long walk in the woods with my wife Holly and our labrador Kathy. That was centering. I also read Holly’s hilarious and bizarre adaptation of Medea using the transcripts of American women who have killed their children. Then, I cooked a good dinner, made scratch blueberry nut muffins. I treasure these days that remind me how expansive life can be – we must make the lives of our characters that large and various.
-henry david clarke