The Reason I Seldom Attend Parties

Eventually, they devolve. People who spend their days trying not to say certain things say them, and you realize that saying what you think is not for beginners.

Or, people who spend their days saying what they think become frustrated that the drunks at the party just ignore the blistering truths they’re painfully disgorging.

I attended opening night of The Catastrophic Theatre‘s production of Wallace Shawn’s Our Late Night. What follows are my thoughts and observations.

First, while I fear chocolate fountains are probably highly unsanitary, they are most definitely a good thing, especially when combined with cream puffs. (I often wonder if friends who’ve been inside my squalid abode laugh about my fear of germs. But those are my germs. Totally different germs.)

Second, I am glad that the play itself did not feature the image from the advertisements. That squatting, pig-masked, vaguely fascist possible cross-dressing prison guard character creeped me out and made me fear I’d be in for a night like my very first night at DiverseWorks, when I saw Annie Sprinkle’s cervix.

(The actual costumes did not reference pigs, and were delightful, especially those pants. Evocative of Nantucket Red, but obviously not quite there.)

Third, I feel like a chump saying how much I liked the set. Seems like saying so is a way to get out of having to talk about the substance of the play. But now that I’ve clicked about a bit, and see actual critics mentioning it, I feel less reticent. Loved how it felt like we were watching from a rooftop garden on a building across the street.

A Jungian pornography? That really does say it all.

I cringed when Grant, the psychiatrist (or therapist, or Reiki master, or whatever credential he claimed) bloviated about his hideous experiments and shameful incestuous fantasies, both because what he was saying crossed the line in a play that started well past that line to begin with, and because we all sound like that at some point. Though usually in discussing a far more mundane topic, like Annie Sprinkle’s cervix.

Which I saw once, by the way. Annie Sprinkle’s cervix. I think Laurie from the place I used to work has video.

Aren’t I transgressive?

Wallace Shawn went to Harvard, so perhaps it should not surprise me that the party I’ve attended which reminded me most of the one in the play took place at Harvard. People were cheating at Pictionary. Who cheats at Pictionary?

People who yearn for a schmear of caustic jelly to enhance their lovemaking, that’s who. Harvard people.

When Lewis and Annette eat cereal near the end of the play? That’s one of my biggest fears. Someone will hear me chewing, or breathing, or breathing through my nose because I’m chewing. And call me fat because of it.

I found myself wondering, early in the show, if we were supposed to be laughing. I was not prepared to laugh (probably because I was on pins and needles worried the pig-man would come on stage soon and really make things hard to understand).

Then, some things really made me laugh, and that’s OK. And some people’s laughing made me laugh. A couple of times, I found myself wanting to be the first one to laugh. That’s a not-secret-anymore secret about me. And not-so-secrets, if I might say so, seem to have been one of the points of the play, wouldn’t you say?

If you are looking for answers, you will probably not find them here. But a recommendation I will give: see the play. Support Catastrophic. Engage with art. You won’t regret it.

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