A Story of Artistic Obsession

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Part V - Looking Back

Life is very different now, with Il Teatro Pescatore a good dozen years in the past. It's ironic that this endeavor was conceived in the throes of a love affair that was, even then, on its way to dissolution, and ITP ran its entire five-year course during the emotionally unfocused time when we were apart. She and I reunited, and have been married now for almost ten years. I've been a school teacher for seven. It's during another lifetime, that's hard to imagine as my own, that with the poorly running, maybe not legal, but outrageously decorated theater van, Carpo, I would...

  • Leave a dysfunctional home at the art commune, drive alone through stares and studied disinterest from the whitebread edge into a dicier part of town,
  • Park in the middle of a closed-off street next to an au courant club for cynics,
  • Spend an evening hour setting up this weird theater, trying to ignore passersby ignoring me,
  • Dress and act as a carny barker to attract stray pedestrians with nothing better to do than pay me $5 apiece to sit for a half-hour performance,
  • Put on make-up and mask, handle half a dozen puppets and voices to keep those few souls entertained enough, at least, not to become abusive,
  • Spend another hour, now in the shank of the evening, taking it all down, and leaving a sparkling of confetti on the pavement as the only reminder of what had transpired,
  • Drive through bar traffic back to that same dysfunctional home,
  • All by myself,
  • At nearly fifty,
  • For a negative cash flow.
"What did I do it for?" is a good question that I'm still hard-pressed to answer. Artistic obsession, borrowed money and drugs are the things that come immediately to mind. That's mostly the cynic in me speaking, though. A more heart-felt response would be that it made me happy to think of the people who would appreciate running across this surprising thing in their world.