Dean and I are having a great time in Vancouver. We took the train up Thursday morning. Just gorgeous out, the Pacific coast going by as we watched from the comfort of our coach seat. Such a genteel way to travel. I wish America had not gone so wrong with all its cars and highways, and had instead constructed more rail travel.
Our first night we had a quick bite at the hotel before taking a taxi (I wish we could have taken a sky train, our Ethiopian taxi driver nearly got us lost!) out to Jericho Arts Center to see two one act plays, titled "The Gift of Screws" -- the title taken from an Emily Dickinson poem:
Essential Oils—are wrung—
The Attar from the Rose
Be not expressed by Suns—alone—
It is the gift of Screws—
The plays were billed to be about the price we pay for truth, in art (in the hands of a tyrannical director) and in politics (the torture of political prisoners). The first play "What Then Must We Do" was incredible. A sort of Brechtian situation, with two actors, a director, and a dramaturge, playing out the conflict between their roles. Very metaphysical. Can the play exist without the vision of the director, without the embodiment of the actors, without someone watching that the script is followed? Pretty amazing stuff. And a little on stage nudity to boot.
The second play, "Muzzle of Bees" was less successful. But my oh my the eye candy. I had never seen anything quite like it -- five men, entirely nude except for black hoods over their heads (imagine Abu Grhaib) together on the floor of a prison, acting out the conflict of being made to do things, of being watched, being made to submit. It was oddly unsettling. And missed the mark, for me.
Spent part of today out at Capilano and Grouse Mountain. Vancouver has such great public transportation. We took the water ferry, then a bus, then the gondola up the mountain. Great views, a very clear day. All sorts of these athletic types having done "The Grind" (running up the mountain and taking the gondola down).
Reading tonight. Hope it goes well!