I recently sat down with myself to ask myself some questions about the September 24th performance of Speakeasy Love Hard @ the Shitty Barn in Spring Green. We enjoyed some mocha latte in the busy dining room of our Spring Green home, as little Lego men tried to corral Jurassic Park dinosaurs and our crazy cat chased pipe cleaners.
Tell us about Speakeasy Love Hard .
Sexy. Funny. Poetry.
That’s what I’ve been saying, and that just about covers it, but in more specific terms, I’ve worked with David Daniel to come up with a lightly-, slightly-staged version of some of my narrative poetry.
The main feature is based around a set of poems called Speakeasy Love Hard, which take place in the 1920s. A young woman leaves home, makes a friend, meets a veteran of WWI, falls in love—experiences all the wildness of Prohibition St. Louis. There’s a little baseball, too—I have a poem called “Urban Shocker.”
Sarah Day and Nate Burger and possibly another mystery woman will be the performers for Speakeasy Love Hard.
After half-time, Nate Burger will be reading some other poems, also sexy, also shocking. David Daniel might even get in on the fun.
Shocking? Could you give us an example?
Well, sure—some general warnings—there’s profanity here and there, and what the ratings board would call sexual situations. No actual nudity though. That I know of. But definitely for mature audiences only.
This one’s called “Ballad of the Bad Man.” It’s sort of mildly shocking.
You take me down to the wrong side of town
At night you do, you know it.
For you, baby, I’d swallow the moon.
All that dark, and us glowing.
My whole life I’ve hated morning.
A sunny day can slay you.
The only thing between me and you
Is hours. I’m pretty good at waiting.
Report for duty at midnight, sir.
We get one shift of happiness.
Every joke and drink is work
To get us started. Make it last.
We both wake up from bad dreams at 3:00.
You hit me once without seeing
Who it was you hit.
I was crying before I felt it.
You take me down to the bad side of town.
At night you do, you know it.
I go down without a fight.
Wherever you want me, I’m going.
So, other than the appeal of a life of illicit lust, what would you say the message of the piece is?
Well, as I told Mr. Daniel, I don’t actually think too much about the message. I figure if I’m doing my job focusing on the music of the language and the flesh-and-bloodness of the characters, the message will just come out on its own.
But once he asked me that, I started thinking about it, and I think my work centers on these four things:
You have to laugh.
You could always have sex.
You rail at God.
You make it through.
(Repeat as needed.)
The poster is pretty hot. Could you talk a little about that?
I’m so lucky to be married to a multi-talented man! Nath Dresser is a singer songwriter—he performed recently at the Shitty Barn at a celebration of Townes Van Zandt. But he’s also a talented photographer, and he designed the poster. When he showed me the image, I just about swooned.
Have you worked with David Daniel or Sarah Day or Nate Burger before?
David was the director last year for my 10-minute play for 24-7 here in Spring Green. On the first read-through he said, “You’re insane,” but I assumed he meant that in the nicest possible way. I’d written a verse play overnight, with three sonnets and two sea-chanteys that had to be cut back for the performance. He did an admirable job shepherding my terrific actors through my insanity, so I thought he’d be good to work with again.
Sarah Day inspires me, generally and consistently and greatly, but she’s also done me the honor of reading my play drafts, and she’s done several dinner-table readings of them, and she participated in a reading/workshop at UW-Richland, of a play which is now called Second Blessing.
I think Sarah and David are phenomenal—I can’t really say enough about how thrilled I am to work with them again.
I haven’t worked with Nate before, but I’ve seen his work at APT, and I know he loves poetry, so I’m excited to get to work with him.
What’s your Bacon Number?
I think four, if writers count (and they might not). Because Randall Duk Kim’s number is two, so Sarah Day’s number is three (or hers might be higher—I’ll have to ask), so if writers count (and, again, they probably don’t), mine is four.
Everybody’s too busy and everybody’s broke. Why should anyone fork out $7 and three hours for Speakeasy Love Hard?
Great question. First of all, the actors are terrific. You know how people say they’d pay to hear certain actors read from the phone book? Well, these poems are at least as good as a phone book. Second, the Shitty Barn. I’ve never not had a good time at the Shitty Barn.
And finally, how many golf balls can you fit in a 747?
I have no idea. But 7:47 was when I was supposed to leave for school when I was grade school. I was a latch-key kid, so I was in charge of getting myself to school on time. Knowing me, 7:47 is not when I left. It’s probably just when I thought, “I’m supposed to leave now.”
All righty then. Anything else you want people to know?
Nope—just hope to see everyone on Monday, September 24, at 7:30 at the Shitty Barn! Buy your tickets in advance if you don’t want to wait in line!
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