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.


  1. Not always alone, you also:
    - even if only a few times, brought along a very excited daughter, thrilled and honored to play a part. Vivid and precious memories were provided, passing puppets and working curtains, could this be what a real "stagehand" would feel like?! Precious memories, and a great pride in the creativity of her father.

    1. GG, I just saw this. I don't visit this site much. It's heart-warming to read your comment. It makes this whole project seem well worth it. And yes, I well remember your help, especially at the Festival. It was a good thing to share. Thank you.