The full moon pulls me outside and I rise or fall, like the obedient tide.
Each full moon has a name, you know. October is either Hunters or Harvest. I don’t feel like looking it up, but I’m going with Hunters. It suits my current mood. And Harvest Moon gets way too much attention.
I feel sorry for the other moons, unsung by, among many, Neil Young. Prolific SouthernMan hater. Well I hope Neil Young will remember, a Southern woman don’t need him around, anyhow. If only I’d stuck with my own brethren, flawed as they all are, I might not be out here at midnight, on cold wet ground. Alone! Among vampire mosquitoes, out for a last taste of blood before we all sink into winters’ underworld.
I admit, I’m a hopeless DRAMATIC. My backyard became The Fountain Theater, an Al Fresco cross between the Globe and the Kit-Kat Club. In its heyday: Drunken Pagan Players; Shakespeare’s Bastards; 500 Megahertz; and Versailles A’Flame drew raving reviews, from teenage vagrants, neighborhood vigilantes and the DeKalb County Police. As founder, I directed, produced and starred in most.
The 2014 Summer Season never made pre-production. Shut down, as death, unemployment, breakdowns, assaults and stalkers plagued the theater, its owners and backers.
Last night, through a rotting patio door, I entered the sad, neglected ruins. Is anything more ominous than a darkened theater? Three rows of burnt-out stage lights sagged the stage, where the eponymous Italianate Fountain is now a cesspool of disease-carrying vermin. Dead vines and Virginia Creeper slung long arms around ghosts in their rusty wrought iron seats. A breeze whispered forgotten dialogue. Smoke of dry ice slithered through weeds. Sweet, decayed gardenias swill in wet leaves and spilled beer.
Into this wreckage, with lavender candle, three quartz crystals and an I-Pad, I stake my gray yoga mat on the ground. Brian Eno’s ineffable “Music for Airports,” is drowned by the relentless stereo percussion of cicadas/crickets.
For 30 minutes, I sit. Absorb my surroundings. Breathe in. Breathe out. Only breath. But it doesn’t hold me – my own breath.
I hear my father’s automated comatose breathing – 120 hours of it. I hold the bones of his wrist, where the beat goes on, this hidden scarlet river.
I see my mother, two years underground. The last scene – calls for grace under pressure – Hemmingway, Gary Cooper. She’s Barbara Stanwyck, and even this will not touch her. She sinks, yet rises above.
These two stars dazzle my life. Comedians. Tragedians. Quick chameleons, as all actors must be.
But…are they capable of capturing the power, awe, the grandeur of death? And do I, front row center – suspend disbelief into tears, or remove myself, as objective observer until the curtain drops? They are capable. It’s over. The End. Rooted to my seat, I believe and observe the theater stay dark. I do not think I should leave, but what is the audience protocol here? What is required?
I wait. Expect a curtain call. The stars will bound out onto the stage. Hands joined, they repeatedly lift their arms, in role-bursting bows. They applaud each other, the audience and then, with a jaunty wave, they exit. Goodnight everybody! Thank you for coming.
Ah ha – see – nobody’s dying, not around here. Standing ovation. Bravo!
But where’s my script, program, the stage door? Impossible, after an Act III like that! Go out for a drink and discuss dialogue, character motivation? No. I’m trapped in a Fourth Act with No Exit. This is one-night only, never repeated, duplicated forgotten or understood.
Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow rolls into last night.
The constant moon is my Mother. Reflecting and shaping, shifting light through a kalaidoscope Full center stage, or hidden behind scenes, in white clouds, over horizons, she rises, sets, rises.
My father, the stars – dreaming new constellations, never judging. Receiving and reading up all that remains undiscovered in a breathing, expanding universe.
Lured last night into the dead Fountain Theater, I expected nothing but 30 minutes of silence under the full Hunters Moon. I already knew the setting, the characters and the story.
I did not expect the message or predict the tears. I do not pretend to understand it. Am I bringing my own bias to it? Probably. It doesn’t matter. The dead remain onstage, behind a curtain, opaque, yet sheer as morning breeze. Life and death are equal, both illusions. Fleeing scenes. Dreams within dreams. “I am he as you are he and you are me and we are all together.” There is no Third Wall.
* Save the Date: The all-new, fully renovated, 2015 Fountain Theater, will kick off its Summer 2015 Summer Season Saturday June 20, 2015, with a Summer Solstice Celebration. Calling all playwrights, actors, musicians, costume and set designers, creatives, rapscallions, art and even sports enthusiasts. Step into the light – all are welcome. Please RSVP. A splendid time is guaranteed for all.
DATE: June 20, 2015, EVENT: Summer Solstice Celebration. WHERE: The Fountain Theater, Decatur, GA. TIME: 8 p.m. until…(Time’s Arrow flies) Rain or Shine.
The Show Must Go On.
– Georgia Lee