AUTHOR: Beth TITLE: DATE: 7/18/2004 12:38:00 PM ----- BODY:

A Night of Short Comedies

  How long can it take to do three loads of laundry? I mean, really?   We got to my parents' house last night around 5, which is when my mother told us to come by since my sister's laundry would be done by then. We sorted the laundry. Three mid-sized loads; not bad. We dumped in the whites, set it to a 9 minute "regular wash", headed upstairs to raid the fridge and watch MAD tv.   I admit we got sidetracked here. But we checked both the washer and dryer frequently as we foraged for food and channel-surfed. It seemed like we went downstairs every ten minutes. And every ten minutes at least one of them would be there, still placidly chugging away.   It wasn't like we set it to the 18-minute "Power Wash".  It made no sense.   Pretty soon it was twenty minutes of eight, we were supposed to meet Michele in Cambridge at 8:30, and there was still a load in the washer and a load in the dryer. Chugga chugga chugga chugga on and on forever.   Then it was eight o'clock. I called Michele to ask for directions to the theater where we were going to watch Beana's show. She told me to call Beana instead. Called Beana. She was backstage at the show (they had a six o'clock and a nine o'clock yesterday), and asked if she could call me back.   "I have to go bow," she laughed.   I have incredibly cool friends.   We got the directions and decided to try to wait out the laundry. At least put the last load into the dryer before we left. Then it was 8:25. I called Beana again. Got the directions. We ended up having to leave the laundry.   A white-knuckle ride down Rte 3, 128, Rte 2, and Rte 16 East, and we were getting lost in the streets of Somerville before we knew it. We finally showed up in front of the Congregational Church, where Beana was sitting out front in a red tank top. "Hello, babee," she grinned, blowing a kiss.   I was still tight-jawed about getting lost. "We got lost!" I blurted.   "It's okay, go around there and follow the lights..."   "You guys here to see the show?" Another cast member, who would later play Philip Glass onstage, interrupted. Actors.   "Just go around to the right and follow the lights."   "Thanks," I said, deadpan.   "You guys are late," he attempted to banter.   "We got lost," I snapped.   "Getting lost is no excuse," he smiled, thinking he was witty and clever. "But we'll let you in anyway."   I didn't laugh. The worst thing you can do to an actor.   I did laugh plenty watching the show, a series of one-act comedy plays with an absurdist bent. We missed the first of them, but the rest that we saw were hilarious and provocative at the same time. Beana was in "Philip Glass Buys a Loaf of Bread," which seemed both an homage and a satire of Glass' style of composition, as four cast members uttered words in phase patterns and struck atonal chords on certain words.   You either got the play or you didn't, since being familiar with Philip Glass' music was a must. Luckily I know more about Philip Glass and other "bleepy-bloopy music" thanks to Steve than I probably ever asked for, so I was in stitches at the play.   It was a send-up, but it also managed to show admiration for Glass and his style. The play itself actually has a plot underneath a play on words, in which the woman in white and Glass share a past. It shows the way Glass communicates ideas by manipulating simple building blocks of his music, like an aural cubist.   And Beana was wonderful. She has such energy onstage. "Philiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiip!!" was her line many times, and she conveyed different things with it every time, an impressive feat. My favorite was when she screeched it and ran in place, fists balled up by her face, communicating squealing excitement.   Another personal favorite of mine was "Variations on the Death of Trotsky", in which the actor playing Trotsky has a mountain climber's axe buried in his skull the entire time. It satirizes violent death, each variation ending with a groaner line before Trotsky drops dead. I was delighted at the way the play simply kept bringing Trotsky to life so they could use all the great setup lines for TROTSKY: dies.   During intermission Michele reminded me of her special birthday song that she sang to me last week at K's house. I hadn't remembered it, the way she leaned in very close, so her lips were touching my face, and murmured "Happy Birthday" very softly onto my face, making me shiver and shriek. She gave me another demonstration as I stood in line for the bathroom near the table where they were selling the sweating people in the sweltering church hall soda for a dollar. It's very creepy/cute. She promises to repeat it for Steve's birthday in August.   I have very cool, touchy-feely drama-kid type friends.   Afterwards we smoked in the churchyard and talked with Lindsay and Brandon, who had been loitering in the area since the 6 o'clock show. Brandon is very different now. The same boy who used to shrink from any touch walked right up to me and hugged me though he and I haven't seen each other in weeks. The same boy who has always been deadpan, sullen and silent was all smiles. He announced he would do a cartwheel, and did so on the church lawn to our applause.   As usual it took a UN convention to decide where to go next, and by the time it was decided and re-decided at least three times, Steve and I remembered we had laundry to get to. So we bid adieu but not before Michele and Beana had planted the idea of getting Chinese food in my brain.   You don't understand. Chinese food, now that I'm allergic to my favorite food, steamers and lobster, is my favorite. If you mention it, I must have it. Last night I picked up some pork fried rice from Wah Sang before we got home to fold clothes.   This morning, talking to Michele over IM, I was reminded of last night, and reminded of the rest of the rice in the fridge, and I went to get it to eat for "brunch." In the kitchen I noticed a soy-sauce packet had fallen onto the floor at some point as I was stumbling around in the wee hours last night. I picked it up, and with momentous solemnity, placed it in the refrigerator.   With that one little packet, we have begun the soy-sauce and ketchup-packet collection in our refrigerator.  It is not a milestone to be sneezed at.