night. nazis. joy. love. why?
i just spent a long portion of my night writing a three-page blog that then got deleted by the powers of computer evil.
these things always happen for are reason. no?
to condense, and to condense is maybe wise, let’s go back to the beginning and forget about the play.
i had an amazing birthday. people far and wide, bloggers, twitterers, emailers, file-sharers, IMers, all alike spread the word of AFP.
so many people responded to my request for proselytizing. to all of you: i thank you.
including my friend e. stephen, the curator of http://empiresnafu.org/. he had this to say:
From: e. stephen
Date: April 30, 2009 12:28:55 PM EDT
Subject: Still awaiting blog punchline
To: a.f. palmer
You compare yourself to Jesus,
and ask your followers to disseminate your holy word to all the poor benighted people in the world who’ve not yet been enlightened by your word.
Is the tongue in the cheek? Am i misunderestimating the dryness of your humor?
Or, have you entered inarguable mock-worthy territory?
If ‘tis the former, consider me duly humbled by your superior aridity.
If ‘tis the latter,
consider this your B-day ballbusting!
ALL my Loves,
(i’m NOT condemning the basic premise of asking fans to help with grassroots promotion for yer day b-day, btw. just the tone.)
i love the fact that my friends continue to give me so much shit.
my wonderful MUM brought me to the MALL (how i miss the suburbs!) for a surprise birthday trip and bought me a pair of yoga pants. now i will yoga with love.
i realized that it had been 7 years, i think, since i’d been home and not on tour for a birthday.
and along with getting sung to by the entire cast & crew of the lexington play with a surprise that consited of anne frank being wheeled out to me on my old high school stage in a gigantic surreal bathtub bearing a birthday cake, my posse dined in one of my favorite restaurants in town (http://www.upstairsonthesquare.com, run by the most eccentric & joyfully dressed ladies, mary-catherine and deborah). we got the the zebra room.
they kept the kitchen up an hour late to feed a very hungry neil (who busted his proverbial ass and flew in very late just for dinner) an arctic char and we repaid them with loud obnoxiousness.
anthony managed to convince one of the waiters to give him a massage.
like dudes on ecstasy at a rave, i swear, except at a gazillion-star restaurant.
it’s been hard at the high school, but rewarding beyond measure.
the play has been coming along like a real piece of real work.
and hard. the whole process has been difficult and wonderful and strange.
nobody owns the holocaust.
we created this show with these students, we handed them this album, and through their imaginations, we’ve created a play.
we’ve read the diary of anne frank, we’ve listened to the music of neutral mill hotel, and we’ve wondered what we could put on stage that would move people, make them think, make them feel.
the show winds up being about anne frank, in a roundabout sort of way, and how she represents something universal. it’s about an artist’s rendition of what may have happened to her after we lose track of her in her diary, after she’s captured by the nazis. in this artist’s mind, she uses her imagination and creative power to cope with the human horrors she is faced with. it is a play, in the end, about hope and creativity triumphing over fear and death.
through this process, we’ve moved ourselves, shifted things. dug around in the dark places. this is what you do.
through this process, we’ve moved ourselves, sometimes painfully.
some of these kids have never been involved in a process like this. where things are made from scratch, where you take ownership of everything.
we had a great rap session a few weeks ago where everyone talked about how this process has effected them.
i was shocked and cracked open to hear one girls fear of heading to summer theater camp where they were planning to a production of the musical “chicago”; she was afraid the process would see, so shallow and so unreal next to this original, emotional workshop we were doing.
me & bogart, our reaction was the same:
NO!!! GO!!! your experience within this other theatrical work will only be heightened, and the people you seek will FIND YOU. once you have an experience like this, you act like a MAGNET. people sense in you the real, the urge to get to the essence of things. the core. and they’ll find you. you can bring things to the process.
you’re going to be doing it all your life.
i finally had the chance to talk to the cast and tell them WHY, of all the things i could be doing in my life right now, i came back here.
i assumed that when i left high school, when i left the little drama department i had grown up with, everything would be BIGGER and REALER and BETTER. ADULTER.
i was taking things for granted, i see that now.
i had a hard time finding That Thing outside of bogart’s productions. i got to college and felt the bureaucracy and the strangeness of it and i didn’t want a part of it. i was a brat.
i put on my own shows. i’d been inculcated with the ideas that ANYTHING was possible, and that ANYTHING was doable with almost no budget and a group of willing participants.
sometimes when you make things from scratch, you find things that you didn’t expect to find, things hidden beneath the dirt.
i think that’s happened with this show.
maybe that’s enough.
maybe that’s the point.
i had my first rehearsal with the stage band today and they’re BRILLIANT. guitar, drums, euphonium, trumpet and french horn
i forgot that arranging music can be like talking to god.
here’s some of the photos from the last few weeks of rehearsal, a whole set is up at:
the rest are by leo gaskell.
ps. if you have no tickets and are near boston, NOW: http://amandapalmer.net/tour
Cross-posted here on MySpace