Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Port Authority

Months ago, Larry shut down the insane fantasy of going across the Atlantic to see Jim Norton in whatever play he is in next. Moot point now. Norton is onstage at the Atlantic Theater in NYC, as one third of the cast of Conor McPherson's Port Authority. This is one of McPherson's earlier plays, one of those in which the actors engage in long monologues that read like short stories. In fact, some of them are almost too literary to be short stories, if that's possible, unless we're to believe that down and out Irishmen talk like grads of the Iowa Writer's Workshop. Well, grads with an exceptionally acerbic wit, grads unafraid to be pretty funny when things are darkest. (Not too many of those running around, are there?) I read these early plays and I want to write him a letter, saying, Can you just write a novel or something? Cause 90 minutes of this isn't quite enough, frankly. Shining City? Very nice, but I was still hungry at the end. 
So, when I found out this play was opening off Broadway, I said to Larry, let's go to this. That was at the end of March, just two weeks before his job ended. We were still a little spooked about, well, everything. I had yet to sign a book contract. We had no idea what he was going to do. He had resumes flying everywhere and a staff to worry about, and he had just brought home a stack of papers indicating that our healthcare bill would likely top out over the mortgage payment every month, starting in May. Not much spare cash left over from that to pay for train tickets to the big city because someone in the irrational half of the marriage has a little crush on an actor. (Jim Norton: 70 years old and still smokin hot!)
I dropped the matter. At least I stopped talking about it. As things spooled out, Larry had the chance to take a couple of freelance contracts. Not jobs, because who wants that? I helped him draw up proposals. We talked about what he should charge, and he sent them off. And then there was silence.  People tend to sit on their hands in these situations. Saying yes takes time. The no comes right away. The yes takes time. Being able to sit in the hang time, to give your price and sit through the uncomfortable silence that follows is a key skill. During the days we sat waiting, I said, "If you get this work, can we go see that play?" Foolishly, he agreed. Although we didn't get tickets before Norton was nominated for a Tony (for the Seafarer), we did get them before the New York Times raved about this production. Yay!
And this is where we'll be on Thursday night. In a little theater off Broadway watching these three guys. My boyfriend is the one in the middle. He lives in my iPod where he narrates Flann O'Brien's The Third Policeman. More on this later.

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