A long day with an even longer night

November 26th, 2010

Madrid, still.
Heather had a doctors appointment in the Morning so I had to fend for myself, fortunately my Spanish is somewhere between wildly awesome and jodidamente Fatal (Effing Terrible).
But Churros con Chocolate is the best breakfast in the world.
Shut your face.
This time, I poured the remaining Hot-Fudge "Chocolate" (Not Hot-Chocolate my potential Fiance, Melted Milk Chocolate) into my Coffee. Best Idea ever.
I said BEST!
Afterward, I met with Heather, who wasn't going to die from her sickness, which is a good thing.
We walked around, and here my days get fuzzy and start blending together a little bit. (Could also be the Vodka that I Scherbatskied into my Iced Tea for this bus ride. To Scherbatsky Alcohol is to pour a serving into a container, pause for a moment, and then empty the alcohol into the serving container.)
Heather wasn't feeling too hot, but we got to talk a lot, and did some window shopping.
Well... I did some shopping shopping, I bought a fantastic jacket from H+M. (Men's clothes in that store are far more expensive than women's it turns out.)
Window Shopping in 'Sol is fantastic, obviously.
Heather had to bail, to nap a bit, so I again fended for myself.
I decided I'd do lunch, wander, and then go to the Reina Sofia Museum and look at the art, then wander the bars until I wanted to sleep.
Little did I know.

The Lunch.
I caved and bought a cafe burger (NOT a Mcburger!), because it was 6 euros for a burger, papas fritas (french fries) and a coke. Probably the cheapest non breakfast meal I had all weekend.
I walked into the Cafe, and asked for the "Menu de Hamburguesa" (The Hamburger Meal-Deal), which is one of my favorite words in Castellano. Hamburguesa.
The lovely woman at the counter told me, pretty frankly, that they were out of Hamburgers.
I say 'Vale' (Okay) and turn to leave.
She tells me to wait, that she'll call her friend to come make more.
This time I say 'Uh...' before I say 'Vale.'
So I sat down, she called her friend, and about 15 minutes later someone showed up, greeted her, and ducked back into the Kitchen.
5 minutes later, she came out and said something was lacking... missing. Whatever.
So the first lovely lady ducks out of the store.
5 minutes later, not only am I very amused, she returns with hamburger buns.
Not 5 mintues more I eat one of the best Hamburguesas I've ever had in a long time.
Worth it?
Hell yes.

The Museum.
Well at 7:00 the museum is free, so I waited an hour or so outside the museum, after wandering around doing some personal shopping.
While I waited I watched a group of lunatics with futbols come out and start playing.
They were acting like different things, Pregnant women, a child, other things. Mostly loonies.
They were talking to people, confronting them, actually trying to get a reaction.
Me, practicing my honesty talked with them, and reacted.
I played soccer 'for' one of the 'pregnant' ladies.
They were also handing out flyer postcards.
"La Katarsis del Tomatazo."
They were a theatre school, advertising their performance, that was that night.
Que suerte, I began talking with them, and made sure that I promised I'd go and gave me general directions.
One of the males got a touch jealous of the female attention I was getting, but nothing came of it.
They eventually left, and I went into the Museum.

This so called 'Art'
Don't get me wrong, Picasso and Dali intrigue me, and there were works in there that deeply struck me.
But for the most part, the paintings and collages (I'm sorry, but 9 of 10 collages I've seen are bullshit) just frustrated me, that they had received this placement in a popular museum.
Paintings that made no attempt to communicate anything.
Oh, and 'The World At War' exibit was absolute bullshit.
Don't get me wrong, The U.S. government fucks up a bunch (and I do love being able to say that openly and publicly, in any medium I so choose) but a constant blame for War in the world being placed solely on The Union of States' shoulders is rather ignorant.
We aren't the only ones making war.
We aren't the only ones with War-hawk political leaders.
We didn't invent the kill.
We didn't start the fire. (It's been burning since the world stated turning...)
We certainly haven't been the greatest and most benivelent nation, but then again... I couldn't tell you which has. (However, I'm not political history/science major, so U'm rather ignorant in this field.)
Still, There *are* others.
You want to blame someone for War?
Great. Do it.
But realize that pointing big angry blaming fingers doesn't really change anything, does it?
This weasel's fur is on end, and its teeth are bared.
Also, there were a lot of bullshit paintings of Dada-istic bullshit.
I grow ever so weary of people making stupid meaningless paintings, sculptures, and sitting back with a smirk and telling me that my new cloths look absolutely fabulous, when I am wearing nothing at all.
Not weary, I grow ever so righteously agitated.
You want to tell people that meaning is meaningless?
Fine. Absurdity have been hammering that out for ages.
You want to fuck with people, and feel superior?
Fine. Be a General Practitioner of Medicine. (I don't like doctors. Can you tell?)
You want to do little work and become famous?
But don't call yourself an Artist.
Artists peruse truth.
Those who make this kind of 'Art' do no such thing.
But, hey, at least they can enjoy their smug sense of being a part of the 'Out-In-Out-In crowd.'
Which is just as masturbatory as the name would imply.
Somehow I think I've said this all before.
Ah well, I feel pretty damn strong about it.

I left the Museum without going to look at Gernika.
But I've seen Gernika, both the painting, and the place,
I saw the painting 6 years ago, and I just wanted to leave the museum for some fresh air.
I found a little cafe, down the general direction that the actors had pointed me, and decided to have a glass of wine.
This cafe?
Coolest cafe, ever.
Beats the Sunbean hands down (my previous favorite ex-cafe.)
This cafe sells used books, coffee, wine, and puts its proceeds to the education of Ethiopian families. Buying a book pays for 3 students. (For how long I don't know.)
I should have bought a book, but they were rather expensive. Great person, I, huh?
I did buy a glass of red tea after the wine, because it was cheaper than the books, and interested me more than the books they had.
This place?
They played Fur Elsie and other... instrumental heavy calming... old timey...music. (I'd rather not say Classical, because I have music major friends who may kill me for thinking that anything that happened before jazz was 'classical music')
Fur Elsie is, hands down, my favorite bit of work by the Ludwig Vahn.
Sue me, I still like it.

The theatre.
Well... the show was... crazy.
Before the show, the actors came out in various characters, and interacted with the audience in character. (Ah, the misunderstandings of the what "Stan the Man Станиславский" was saying, you are so... archaic.) One girl was putting on a 'Sad Act' and to be honest it seemed fake, but I couldn't be too sure, so I started talking to her.
She continued to seek me out and talk to me at both intermissions (Well talk about the 'great idea' two intermissions is after I get this out of my system.)
She and I talked a lot, and I wasn't sure what was real and what was fake.
But DLP's voice rang in my head "Stay Honest, Young Man, what have you got to lose?" I love it when DLP is inside my ear/head.
So I stay honest.
She tells me I have the most lovely eyes, and asks me if I will let her live in my house.
I tell her I don't have a house, but she's more than welcome to crash on the ground/couch of whatever I'm living in when I get to N.Y.
She tells me to come to Madrid, and go to school there, and live with her.
She flirts heavily with me.
My mind races, but I stay honest.
She asks me if I believe in Love at First sight.
I tell her, honestly, that I don't.
But I do believe in immediate attraction, that may turn into something more.
Naturally, I'm excited.
She's interesting.
I ask her about her philosophy in theatre.
She tells me that a play is a dream.
I don't know if you actually know this weasel of a Kishpike, but that response put me at 100.
She then explained that a show can make a person think, or it can entertain, but it is always like a dream.
This was all in Spanish.
I think my language is improving.
At the end of the whole thing, it turns out she was practicing a character for a scene she's doing later this year.
Heartbroken? Not quite, but definitely an aftertaste akin to it.
I'll return to this subject, but I want to talk about the Play that was on the Stage.

The 'Play' had 3 acts, 2 intermissions, and one too many 'Lead Actors'

A) 2 intermissions is BULLSHIT.
This theatre is about immersion.
They like to get the audience's participation in the show, they don't want the audience checking out, and they get right up in your face, and make sure you aren't sleeping.
And they have 2 intermissions.
Cognitive Dissonance much?
Intermission is a break.
An excuse to lose this immersion.
I hate intermissions in general.
Two? Two is too much to have.

B) On The Lead Actor Role.
So... I think, here in Spain, they have the concept of the Lead Actor. The concept that the 'Biggest Part' the protagonist, the character who the show belongs to, is given to an actor/director, who is very important. They Lead and Act.
This concept in my learning, is mildly present in 'The Flag-bearer'
(The Flag-bearer isn't always the protagonist, or even the best actor present, but they are the one actor who rallies the crowd, and helps the director to get a grasp on the group of actors, and gets everyone under on flag.)
These Lead Actors always love themselves far, far, far too much.
And it shows.
They play the action of 'Look at me Audience, I'm the best.'
Which reads.
They tend to not listen.
They tend to be terrible, and hammy.
This production had one.
She was a perfect example of all this.

C) Act i, Sketch Comedy has been done better.
The play started with a poorly costumed dance number of 'The Time Warp.' It was Lip Sync. sunk. The choreography? Not super original. Big surprise. I thought I had somehow managed to come in to see a production of 'Rocky Horror,' but no.
Scene 2 was a man who shot another man who asked for a cigarette. 'Smoking Kills,' with a wink at the audience.
The gun shot? Terrible.
The Death? Worse.
Continue on of more of the same for about 30 minutes.

D) Act ii, The Catharsis of the Tomato.
While this was not theatre, it certainly was performance art.
Maybe performance 'art,' but it was experimental, it was treading dangerous grounds. It was an exercise in examining stereotypes, tropes, and human reactions.
If there must be bad theatre and art in the world, the let it be said that all bad art is executed with the intention to create something new, with an atmosphere of experimentation. Let it be said, at the end of this bad art 'Well that sucked, but at least we tried something new, and learned from it.'
The first 45 minutes (by the time I tell this story again it will be 2 hours) there were three 'Inmates' from a women's prison, (Lead Actress here) making jokes about the intelligence levels of these gangster-dancer 'You Just Got Served' girls. Very Jersey Gangster Thug who suffers from Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness.
It was also completely actionless.
45 minutes of words.
A brief history on theatre.
Quit telling me, and show me.
(This is a blog, its job is to tell. I can't rightly show you these things can I?)
After this, Tomatoes were handed out to the audience, and Sketches were put on.
The audience was encouraged to either throw the tomatoes or applaud.
The sketches, purposely horrible.
However, it did make me think.
A lot.
Fakey Fake Crying and uncommitted acting are sins on par with Talking or Texting in a theatre.
I should have texted.
There would be catharsis in that.
It seems, however, the expiremental nature of this show has been tapped, it's been playing for a while, same concept, different actors, different bad scenes.

E) Act iii, More of the Same.
Bad sketches.
A few decent dances.
More lead actor loving herself.
And then it came.
The thing I loved.
After bowing, each group of actors approached the audience, and shook a few hands.
Now there is a break in tradition to strengthen the honoring that bowing is supposed to be.
A bow is a sign of respect, is it not?
But that's been forgotten, it's now expected. It tells us when we can stop clapping.
Shaking our hands? That shows that they actually do appreciate us being there.
Further all the actors lined the exit, and each personally thanked as many people as they could.
Consider it stolen, and something gained.

So, back to the girl.
She told me that she would talk to me after the show.
Aparently she thought I knew she was in character the whole time.
I didn't, I suspected, but I didn't know.
And part of me, a large part of me believed her.
Because why not?
Why not take the risk?
Ah well, she was surprised to see me after the show, I had waited 30 minutes, in the cold with little more than a suit jacket to keep me warm.
She had asked me what I had done in character, and I told her I was a Director, because I am, dammit.
So she asked about how I took her character.
Uhg, I kept trying to stay honest, but I felt hurt.
But, I explained to her that her 'trying to be sad' at first wasn't very convincing, because she was trying to 'be' something, and not 'do' something.
She listened to me, and we talked about her rehearsal process and her 'Deseos' or Goals. (Yay Spanish Theatre Knowledge) and that she would be a lot more believable when actively pursuing goals.
She told me that she actually believed I knew what I was talking about, and had never thought of it in that regard. That she really wanted to hear more, so we continued to talk.
The other actors went out to drink more, and she invited me to go with them. So I did.
We talked a lot me and her.
All the bars were closed, so we found a concrete park, and the Actors drank what they had brought, but I wasn't drinking. I wanted to be thinking clearly.
Then we all played futbol for a few hours.
I got to talking with the other actors, about casual things.
Someone told me I didn't look like an American. I took that as a compliment.
Another girl got very drunk and called me 'America' all night.
This was fine.
I walked the first girl, home, and she asked if we could go out to coffee so we could go over her script.
She wanted more advise.
How exciting?
Not because a girl is interested in me, I don't think she really was, but that I can do actor-coaching across a language barrier!
Of course, she spoke pretty good English, but a lot of our conversation was in Spanish.
This gives me confidence in my ability as a Director.
See, it seemed the man playing her opposite suffers from self-love, and won't listen to her.
I told her that the rehearsal process was time to play... so if she had to break blocking, script, or whatever to GET her goal (which was conveniently this man's attention) that she should do it. If her director gets upset, well, then probably don't do it again, and find another director.
I also told her that she wasn't advocating for her character. She told me she didn't realize that this was important, and that she loved the idea.
Of course, this could all be lies.
But, fuck it, it all could be.
I'm a cynic, not a pessimist.
I'm going to keep taking risks, and believing in myself.
(For the record, I'm a sucker for those who compliment my eyes.)

So, I get to the Hostel at 6:30 AM.
I didn't get lost, I found my way home.
I brush my teeth and go to sleep.


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