Hey, all. I'm back after my week off blogging. I have no idea what I did last week. I'm sure it was fascinating.
Wait -- I remember one thing I did: I went to the first read-through of a mini one-act play I wrote that's going to performed at the San Diego Repertory Theater on Friday, Oct. 6. The script for the show is based on the two-person dialogue I wrote that's found in the first part of my book Penguins, Pain and the Whole Shebang. It's a conversation between God and the archangel Michael (whom, says the book, "God is sometimes pleased to call Mickey.").
Playing the part of Mickey will be an exceptionally gifted comedic actor named Willie (whose last name I don't know since I just met him last week and didn't think to ask him, which of course I now regret). I guess Willie's becoming quite successful in Hollywood; I know he just finished a ton of television and film work up in L.A. I'll find out more about that work when he and I have dinner together after our upcoming rehersal this week. It was astonishing to see how instantly and fully Willie inhabited the part of Mickey. Real acting sure is a trip to see.
The part of God will be played by The Rev. Canon Richard Lief, who is Canon for the Performing and Visual Arts where I got to church, which is at St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral in San Diego. We figured having an Actual Priest play the part of God might come in handy later, when we're trying to stay out of hell for having the nerve to do what for 500 years Christians loved back when Thomas a' Kempis did it in The Imitation of Christ, which is put words into the mouth of God. (Which, I'd be the first to say, is an audacious, obnoxious thing to do.)
The piece is being directed by my new friend, the Rep's Steven Morgan-Mackay. I'm very lucky, and very grateful, to have my words be in the hands of such a gifted director.
It was so weird, sitting there watching actors perform what I had written. I can tell you: I liked it. A lot. A crazy amount. So pleasurable did I find it, in fact, that I've already started writing a regular, three-act play.
Here's the opening of the script people will see at the Rep:
(The royal purple curtain goes up, and we see God in his workshop, busily putting the final touches on his prototype for the male human being. Enter ever-loyal MICKEY.)
Mickey: Wassup, Lord of Lords? I saw the glorious light of your presence shining under the door there, and thought I’d pop in and—whoa! What is that?
God: Hey, Mickey. [looking at proto-Adam] Do you like it?
Mickey: I’m amazed by it. I love it! What is it?
God: I’m calling it “The Human Being.”
Mickey: “The Human Being.” I like the sound of that. Human … Being. Human Being. It sounds noble, yet humble. Complex, yet appealingly insignificant. Dignified, yet approachable. Hard on the outside, yet chewy on the inside. Pliable, yet …
God: (warmly) Will you stop?
Mickey: (quickly) Right this moment. Seriously, Lord: I do not know what this “Human Being” is, but even I can see that this is one of your major achievements. It definitely looks like Your Holy Omnipotence has done it again!
God: Oh, stop. But thank you.
Mickey: I’m serious. Creator of All or not, this . . . this is something! What’s it do?
God: A lot! It moves. It processes all kinds of information at truly stunning rates. It fully communicates. It’s got state-of-the-art ocular capabilities. It hears like a bat, if you remember those.
Mickey: Little flying … furry … fangy … rat-like deals?
Mickey: I’ve tried to forget those, Lord. We all have. But you bringing them up is cool. I’ve been meaning to skip a couple night’s sleep anyway. Tell me more about this Human Being.
God: Well, one of the truly unique things about it is that it stays upright, just as you see it here. This vertical position is its default posture!
Mickey: Whoa. No way.
God: Way. And it self-locomotes in this exact position—and I mean, this baby can really move. And while it’s moving, it stays completely upright on those two little flat parts on the ground!
Mickey: [dumbfounded] This is really unbelievable. And it’s so tall. I feel like falling over just looking at it!
God: And check out this doohickey right here.
Mickey: Okay. I’m looking. I’m seeing it. I have no idea what it is.
God: I call it a thumb. See? It’s opposable.
Mickey: (knowingly) Ah, yes. An opposable thumb. I was about to guess that. (pause). Okay, I wasn’t.
God: And now you’ve lied to God.
Mickey: No, no! That was not a lie! No one can lie to God, because everyone knows that God knows the truth, right? So anyone seeming to lie to God can only, in fact, be joking with God, because he knows that God knows that he knows that God always knows the truth. See? It was a joke! It couldn’t have been anything else!
God: Someday, Mickey, the “Human Beings” are going to produce an entire civilization. At some point they’ll develop what I believe they will call lawyers. I may make you their patron saint.
Mickey: Really? Do it! I would make an excellent patron saint! Thank you, Lord. Thank you. I’m really flattered.
God: Well. We’ll see.
Mickey: But tell me about this opposable thumb.
Comment below, or here.
(If anyone wants to see any more of this dialogue, lemme know, and I'll run some more of it.)