Despite the Date of This Post, Everything Contained Within It Is Completely True

I had a three day weekend thanks to the Easter holiday, and for all the research material I wanted to read and all the sleeping my body was anxious for me to finally do, I could not resist the siren call of spring; I cleaned my apartment.  Or at least started to; the struggle against clutter and entropy is a constant one, after all.  And it’s an especially hard struggle when you’re a performing arts professional, and the assorted detritus of a hundred different projects wind their way into every nook and cranny of your abode.

This point was driven home to me as I cleared things out underneath my couch.  I remembered some of what I’d stashed there; it’s a convenient place for some flat items to reside.  But as I pulled out some chessboards and some cat toys, I found myself looking at something else as well.  Something disturbingly large, and rather frightening.

Myself.  Or at least, a picture of myself.

And I’m not talking about a forgotten headshot.  No, this is a three foot long section of corkboard with a picture of me printed on it.  A grotesque picture of me, mind you, my face contorted in a rictus of confusion.

And I’ve had this thing for ten years.

In 2014, I was producing my play Dragon’s Breath (the first of my plays to be produced) as part of the New York Fringe Festival, as well as playing one of its supporting roles.  At one point in the show, cult members hold up a picture of my character as they proclaim him their enemy, to be targeted with violence.  (Dragon’s Breath is about a YA paranormal romance writer who accidentally starts an evil cult.  If you’ve followed along with my stuff for long enough then that synopsis should hardly surprise you.) So a few weeks before we opened, our photographer followed me around as I went out into the New York streets, in character, pretending to ambush me and take candid shots while doing so.  We then went to Kinko’s and placed an order, requesting that my face – captured as I was pretending to recoil from some strange ambush – be blown up on a large piece of corkboard to serve as a prop.  They didn’t question the order – this apparent mixture of egomania with a complete lack of vanity – and we had our prop within a few days.

I happened to double as the (luckily masked) cultist who held aloft this sign, which was a nicely strange existential moment for me.

And now, here it is, ten years later, and this little piece of a show – into which I poured about two years of my life in order to realize it – was lying underneath my couch, gathering dust.  I’d almost forgotten it existed.

And now, there’s the question of what to do with it.  This show won’t be revived anytime soon, and even if it were to happen I’m certainly not going to play the part I played ten years ago.  How long do these sorts of things have value as souvenirs, as tangible a tangible reminder that yes I did indeed accomplish something dammit, before they simply become another object amongst the clutter?

I suppose I could display it on my wall, but what on earth would the neighbors think?

Leave a Reply