Tuesday, August 20, 2002

I just returned from a local theater with my family, from dinner with friends by Donald Margulies. I would call it a great play, mainly because it left me feeling somewhat betrayed. No period costume, sets, or language to distance me; no screen; no stilted dialogue to make me a critic. By the end, when the actors came out to take a bow, I felt positively bewildered. Two seconds ago, they had been a couple, married for decades, in bed together. Intimate. And I, through some strange arrangement that after two hours managed to seem natural, had ended up in bed with them. They came out for their bows entirely detached. From each other. From me. How did they do it? It is difficult for me to believe that people can don other lives and then remove them with costume and makeup at the end of a sum of hours. Why?
Because I'm a sucker.

Sunday night was an event. I saw my first movie in the theaters since--well, I can't place the last movie I saw in the theaters. I'm tempted to say Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon but I don't think that's right. I saw My Big Fat Greek Wedding with recently met instantfriend Aaron Herschtal. Milktoast moments abounded. But this comedy filled out its shoes: it played craftily on the strings of my own tensions, fears and premonitions. Names were changed and words shuffled, and suddenly my weird distorted nightmares projected bigscreen became hillarious, unencumbered by sagging plot.
A brilliant moment made me uncomfortable enough to turn away. The first onscreen kiss. Clumsy, awkward, executed without any of the skill that makes it easy for us to look on thoroughly detached. I was sitting six inches from two people, watching them kiss for the first time. Intruding.
I can't say I've been converted back to a dutiful member of the moviegoing masses, but I do not regret my hours spent sitting still in the darkness, effaced.

My search for new reading material has landed me in a peculiar spot: my brand new JPS Tanach. I browsed through Ezekiel but, well, I must admit his hellfire did not exactly fill me with the urge to jump in. I am drifting through the wisdom of Solomon: Me-sheli. And relearning my bar mitzvah haftorah. Isaiah 60. KOOMEE OOREE KEE VA ORECH. RISE UP AND SHINE. YOUR LIGHT HAS COME.