I’ve gone off and met my friends inside the shiny box, before, and the experience never fails to fill me with a certain wide-eyed glee. To those people who insist you cannot form a real bond with people you haven’t met in real life, I say: Are you going to deny there’s a bond when within 15 minutes of meeting I am complimenting the other person’s tits in all earnest sincerity? Are you really that jaded and soulless? Fine for you, but I’m guessing you’re just not the sort of person whose rack I would WANT to exclaim over, anyway. (And it wouldn’t kill you to go for a professional bra fitting. Just sayin’, Droopy McSquashed.)
I am never worried about meeting someone I’ve come to adore online. I do, however, worry about having the opportunity to evaluate the work of such people, because OHMYGOD what if it’s awful and I have to find a way to not lie but not crush them and how did this amazing person produce such dreck? Up to this point: I have an excellent track record of befriending scary-talented women.
I’m so pleased to tell you all that the excrutiatingly pretty Jennifer Mattern is another brilliant creator who is just as smart and funny as you’d expect.
[Sidebar: The last email exchange before I left went something like the following.
Me: So I will see you tonight! Can’t wait!
Her: Wait, how will we know each other? You’ve seen pictures of me, and also I will be the one twitching.
Me: Here’s a photo of me. I will wear a flower in my lapel. Shit, I don’t have lapels!]
Last night I drove to the Berkshires* to see Jenn’s new play, Like Home. I lived in the Berkshires about a zillion years ago, and I was overcome with nostalgia as the road began to twist and turn and the various declarations along the way became more and more chuckle-inducing.
“Hogback Mountain FUDGE!” Yeah, um, I prefer for my confections not to have any PORK words associated with them. Thanks.
“COLD BEER – HOT COFFEE” Written in letters so large, it’s clear that these two commodities are the only reasons to continue living. And around there, I suppose they are.
“Come sleep with us!” Do I… have to? Can’t we just cuddle?
And my favorite–an entire town with lampost banners sporting little arrows pointing at a gigantic red circle, each one reading “YOU ARE HERE.” What a good use of the taxpayers’ money!
Anyway, after a delightful scenic drive, I arrived in North Adams and drove right past the theatre. Then I circled back around, parked, and WALKED right past the theatre. (You people thought I was kidding about needing a map to drive home. This is just HOW I AM.)
Then I (finally) walked into the theatre and there was Jenn, and her face lit up, and I couldn’t stop grinning, and we hugged, and I immediately tried to put her in my pocket because she is so dear and adorable and I want her with me always. And then we braided each others’ hair, except I don’t have much hair to braid, so instead we just jumped up and down and squealed a lot.
After Jenn introduced me to her husband David, the director, (also a very fabulous person, though he didn’t look like he’d appreciate the level of affection I was lavishing upon his wife) and showed me the space (what a FUN little theatre they have there), we sat down and gossiped for a while. Some people might think that I was selfishly dumping on Jenn about my own issues (it hasn’t been such a great week), but we THEATRE FOLK understand that I was merely distracting her from her jitters. Yes. It was selfless, really.
And then, also, there was the picture-taking and the rack-complimenting, where we made David take pictures and she insisted she wanted my body and I insisted I wanted her boobs and then we had to braid each others’ hair some more.
I wanted to take a picture of Jenn by the article that came out in the paper yesterday about Like Home, so I did. When I checked it on the display, afterwards, I said “You look sort of stunned.” She replied, “Well I AM!” Fair enough!
Then we made David take a picture of us there in the lobby, and then a second one, just in case (although the flash decided not to go off for the second one, so it’s, um, well, it’s a MOOD SHOT! That’s it!).
I defy you to not be jealous of Jenn’s boobs. It’s not possible.
Anyway, our lovefest had to come to an end so that they could, you know, have the play. And here my trepidation kicked in a bit, because what if it was horrible?
Oh, but it wasn’t horrible. Not even a little. I told Jenn afterwards that I thought Like Home was like the love child of Neil Simon and Harold Pinter, and I meant it. (And if you don’t get what that means, you are not a theatre geek.) It was hilarious; it was heart-wrenching; it was transparent in some places and complex and others; it was everything I love in a stage production. I wish I could see it again, as is my wont with really meaty pieces, so that I could get the next deeper layer of it now that I’ve seen it once. But there’s only so much driving I can do in this lifetime, so I will have to wait for it to hit Broadway.
If you live anywhere close enough to get there for this show, MAKE THE TRIP. You won’t be sorry. The production is worth it. (Heck, Jenn’s boobs are worth it. And she totally gave me permission to blog about them.)
* I passed some of my drive time chatting on the phone. When I told Joshilyn that I was on my way to the Berkshires, she ended up chiding me for assuming she would have any idea what the Berkshires are. (The mountains of Western Massachusetts, should you be similarly confused.) She then offered up what I suppose was meant to be an even more egregious geography offense, where someone insisted that Missouri is “in the south.” Joss was chuckling in my ear at that person’s naivete when I said, “Missouri isn’t in the south?” Ahem. Well. At least I’ve heard of the Berkshires.