The fall play premieres tonight. My Kit is the lovely and fully realized Hermia. I wander around backstage camouflaged by my camera—the actors let me get close. They have been transformed from the teenagers raiding my refrigerator over the lunch hour into thespians.
All of Kit’s friends are theatre kids—dramatic but not drama queens. They sing show tunes; they quote Mamet; they insult in Shakespearean English; they play out whole scenes from dozens of movies. They skip sporting events. They’re serious and hilarious and imaginative and passionate about everything.
During last night’s dress rehearsal, I walked by the costume room where a heated debate was in full session. I overheard someone close to tears insisting, “But the French will die for love!” I stood very still, quietly and reverently . . . a Unicorn walked right past me.
© Liana 11/14
I saw a beggar leaning on his wooden crutch,
he said to me, “You must not ask for so much.”
And a pretty woman leaning in her darkened door,
she cried to me, “Hey, why not ask for more?”
~ Leonard Cohen, Bird on a Wire
how many times have I gathered myself like leaves do
then waited for the wind to choose the right moment
~ Liana 11/14
His new play, The Widow Lincoln, will premiere in January at Fords Theatre in Washington, DC. In very tony theatre circles, James will then be even more famous than his three Pulitzer Prize nominations already attest. In the Playbill, this headshot will not be featured. To my great regret, James does not like it; but then he never likes any photo taken of him, he tells me self-consciously. He’s about words, not pictures, he explains. James is a brilliant, kind, sensitive man who doesn’t want to hurt my feelings. Conciliatory, he assures me that he really loves the photo I took of his father. Actually, that was an honest, feeling portrait but, admittedly, I was too star-struck to take an equivalent picture of James. The level of celebrity where I dwell is more often “People Who Know Peter Coyote.”
Still, James Still, I am proud of this portrait, and of everything you have become against such odds. On my feet, rising . . . BRAVO.
As the boy stood awkwardly
in that doorway ready to go,
the father of few words
gave his son a lucky rabbit’s foot.
Got this at the circus the
night I didn’t leave here.
I was your age
. . . take it.
It’s never been used, he said.
It’s never once been used.
~ Liana, excerpted from “Circussion”