Sunday, August 12, 2007

James Braly: The Roller Coaster of Love:

Anyway...while standing at the bar, I met a statuesque blond from London, who used to be a presenter for BBC, but is now a playwright. She asked me what I do, and when I told her (a funny, dark and brutal autobiographical monologue) she told me--as have others--that I am up against major cultural barriers here. "The British don't discuss their personal lives." She invited me to join her for a drink after a show she was off to see, so an hour later we met again. This led to a meeting with some other of her friends, who echoed the warning against using your life onstage. One performer said, "That's why we have theatre." I told her that at least some New York audiences are used to viewing private lives as theatrical vessels; that there is a culture of ironic detachment. She said detachment is a grave social error here: "The British feel a deep need to be connected with each other." They asked me to join them as they wandered off en masse to another bar, connected as it were, to drink some more.

But I walked home, needing rest more than alcohol, reflecting on my meeting with the American producer a few hours earlier. How, in front of Louise and another performer, having just met me, he had told me of his divorce, and of his nymphomanical Cuban, while Louise gaped at the exchange, which we two Americans felt perfectly normal.