Don't read ahead.
In a moment, you'll see why I was messed, messed up the morning of New Year's Eve.
Let me start at the beginning.
Let me start before the beginnning:
Perhaps some of you saw this event invitation
called Fast 'n' Loose. Don't sweat it if you couldn't make it, it was posted fairly last minute.
As some of you might know, several of us in team El Lay Zero are also members of L.A. theater company Sacred Fools Theater
. "Fast 'n' Loose"
is a show we do on a semi-regular basis, and have put one on annually for the last ten years.
Basically, it is our take on overnight theater. The night before the show, producers gather a set of different variables which the writers select at random and scatter into the night to write.
The next morning, these writers return to the theater where directors then select a play at random, and similarly choose their cast out of a hat. The curtain goes up at 8 that night. All told, it's not a bad way to spend New Year's Eve.
This brings us up to the beginning of this particular story.
This year, Team Nitro provided as the variables New Year's themed props, and what they called Nitro Factors. The Nitro Factors were explosive related nouns.
I went home with a framed photo of Dick Clark, the phrase "Time Bomb", and the sudden desire to have performed instead of writing this year. I knew what was waiting for me at home.
On the way home, Heatherlynn and I stop off and have some dinner. She buys me two Mai Tais. I don't count these as part of the process. Though tasty, they're watered down quite a bit, and dinner provided a pretty good cushion against them.
No, my assistants were still waiting when I got home.
Here, let me introduce them:
Yeah, that's really what I did. Kept a log too. I don't normally do this sort of thing when I write, at most, I might have a glass or two of wine at the start and then somewhere in the middle of the night. I thought I'd experiment this year.
Regard the Theraflu: The cough medicine isn't in that photo because I'm trying to be funny. I've
been pretty sick the last week. It's mellowed considerably by the time
this story starts, but I'm still coughing a lot and I've got a long night of writing ahead of me.
It's best, I think, if I'm going to have some kind of inebriant, to have drunk it up before taking my medicine, leaving m'trhoat all the more warm and coated.
The red wine's almost gone to start with. There's a cup left, if that. Well, one big cup, a nice big mug. Of red wine.
And then the two tablespoons of Theraflu.
I'm off to a fairly poor start. At this point I'm staring at a blank page. I've managed to write the words "by C.M. Gonzalez" under where I'd write the name of the play. I'm trying to see if I can come up with some names for the characters at least. I've got four people to write about, 2 men and 2 women. Nothing sticks.
I like Mai Tais. They taste good, and this seems like not too bad a time to have one. I'm getting thirsty and frustrated.
I'd put the pot on to boil a few minutes ago. Maybe some English Breakfast to calm me down a little. I've also got my headphones on, so I don't hear the pot boil. Suddenly, the missus
comes up to me with a hot mug of tea which I immediately take a big gulp of.
My scalded throat is still sore almost two days later.
Annnd another Mai Tai.
"Are you going to drink all of that bottle? I'd like some more before it's gone." Heather's still awake reading. I thought she'd fallen asleep awhile ago.
I've made a little bit of progress at this time. I've by now gotten to the end of the first page of a second attempt. I like this one better. The first one was about the remaining crew of a spaceship that's been lost longer than most of it's crew has been alive. This play is about a frog that's visiting her friends in the city for the holidays.
The drowsies begins to set in, and with the lack of sleep, I figure my immune system could use an assistance, so I pour a can of Red Bull and a tablet of fizzy lemon lime Air Protector into a glass. It is actually one of the tastier drinks of the night.
I've decided that instead of a space ship, the four characters are on a life raft somewhere in 1936. One of the women may or may not be a frog.
Coffee energy drink, it is a stupid idea, this beverage is made of 8-Tracks
, and flavored with grief.
Frogs are terrible to write about, they're touchy about being called slimy. At least I have managed to throw out four different scripts after the first page and make no real progress.
Guarana. Ginseng. B Vitamins. Coffee. Needs more whiskey. I remember one time at a New Year's party after most people had gone home, I invented a flaming yo-yo by tying a length of rope to a roll of toilet paper that was not yet on fire. That was a better idea than any of this.
My fingers aren't typing the keys that they should. This is a form of protest.
They resent management making them work like this when sick.
This thing is huge, and tastes worse than I remember it. But at least I'm awake.
I've gone back to the first script I had. It's flowing pretty well now.
An actor, a woman who I don't know for sure if she's performing in the show, for some reason, one of the characters seems to be her. Being able to picture my friend in that role seems to be helping me tell the story of the last humans left on Earth trying to explain how the New Year holiday worked to someone who was a baby when the world broke. I like how it's coming along.
I find myself sobbing quietly as I type up the ending.
Time for the next dose of cough medicine. Blech.
Nice warm mug of coffee. Strangely soothing on my throat.
I'm done now, but I need to keep awake long enough to make it to the theater and back. Tom Waits is keeping me awake. Good for him.
Hey, look at that it's really happening, a new morning is coming.
It's almost 7 in the morning:
Happy Birthday, Planet!
What a nice way to spend this morning.
It'll be time to leave for theater soon, I need a manual fractal to help me get there.
I get to the theater and as the writers, directors and actors filter into the house there's a great first day of summer camp vibe. Everyone's excited.
Brian, one of the producers seems to be keeping a sharp on me. I don't think he wants me near the coffee. He's just watched me finish off a cup and I've explained what I've been up to all night. He seems worried about me.
I'm babbling a lot, a lot.
I show Lincoln the little journal I kept of the night's activities. A little notepad that I've been scribbling on. Watching me dig it out of my bag to flip through it he tells me I've gone crazy. This little paper thing with chicken scratch on it, I show him my notes and he laughs.
I'm running out of steam and the walls seem to be breathing, but I want to watch as my play gets put together. A novice director pulls four fantastic actors.
One of them, Kathi (she's the one in the glasses on the left there), is actually who I was picturing when I wrote the part of Maggie. As it turns out that's the part she really wanted and she ends up getting it.
This is going to be worth it.
Here's where I'd planned to post the video of the show.
Although, I'd stuck around to see the cast go through reading the
script, and loved every second of what they were doing, I was still
nervous, that's how my brain works. But I loved it, and the audience
seemed to like it as well.
I was taping the show and was planning to grab the clip of my piece in this proof. But as I just found out this afternoon, the discs seem to have finalized incorrectly. There is no footage of anything.
What I do have are these:
My friend Kat got some photos of the show and has shared these with me.
Here's Marco telling Maggie about dreaming of blue skies and green ground.
Ragged Bob tries to ignore his companions.
Frenchy tells her friends about how quiet the streets were.
Oh well, nothing like the end of the world to put people in a partyin' New Year's mood.