Grace Slick And Me

Last weekend Yduj and I went to see a friend of mine, Retep,  who was performing in an off-Broadway play.  Actually, the show consisted of excerpts from four separate plays; Retep was in the second.  The first one, which included some really bad music, was (and this I only know from reading the play notes)  supposed to be about three characters whose lives somehow overlap:  Grace Slick (of the Jefferson Airplane), Alice while in Wonderland and a third that is still a mystery to me.  If you find this a little puzzling, let me tell you…I’ve made it soooo much clearer for you than it would be had you been there.  If this play had been written in the ’70s or ’80s, it probably would have been described as avant-garde;  in the ’90s or oughts it might have been called experimental.  In 2011, I would just call it dreadful.  But this is not a review and the real story here is about something that happened toward the end of that first play.

The theater was a relatively small one without much separation between the players and the audience.  At various times the  Grace Slick character would try to involve the audience in some of her performance and we’d all chime in as requested.  And then from out the blue, in a pause that seemed to have nothing whatsoever to do with the play, she walked into the audience and approached a young woman  and asked her to create a haiku on the spot.  Which amazingly,  she did. (Only afterwards did I consider she may have been a “plant”–God, I hope so.)   And then “Grace” started eyeing the crowd looking for someone else to single out.  When I saw her looking directly at me, I shifted slightly to try to hide behind Yduj;  but it was too late. In a flash, “Grace” was right there in front of me with her microphone thrust in my face.   A few things you should know: I don’t know the form of a haiku (I was absent that day), I don’t like being put on the spot like that and  I’m terrible at thinking quickly on my feet.  So what we had here was a confluence of circumstances that could lead to nothing good.

Of course, I know there are some venues–like a comedy club– where one might expect to be incorporated into the performance.  Whenever I go to a place like that , I make sure to check my dignity at the door knowing that at some point I may be called on stage, hypnotised and  turned into a barking chicken.  It’s not my favorite thing but I try to be a good sport.  But going to a play almost always ensures that you’ll be the audience, not the performer.  I guess “Grace” had a different idea about that sort of thing.

I suppose you’re wondering how I handled the invasion.  Sadly, not well.  When she asked me to recite a haiku, my response was, “I was hoping you wouldn’t come over to me”.  Which of course, isn’t a poem at all.  The best thing it had going for it was that it was the truth.  Apparently, the truth is less entertaining than a bad poem.  “Grace” kind of made a face and said, “That’s your haiku?”  When I said that it was, she started mumbling and walked away.  Mercifully, that play ended shortly thereafter.  Of course, I was left thinking of all the non-haiku responses I might have given that would have made me seem less of a dork, but unfortunately, there are no do-overs in these kinds of situations.

I was in my office the next day and I was describing to Luap what a failure I had been.  After explaining to me the form of a haiku, he added that you can always end it with, “I wish I was dead”–works everytime he says.  So here’s the response I wish I had given to “Grace” if I was an entirely different person than the one I am:

This play confuses me/ Now you’re embarrassing me/ I wish you I was dead

The Real Grace

Haikus 'R Us

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2 Responses to “Grace Slick And Me”

  1. Richard Says:

    The actress playing Grace seems fairly despicable, but it seems to me you did give her a great haiku, you just didn’t phrase it properly:
    I was hoping
    you wouldn’t come over
    to me.
    She was an idiot. You took a bullet for the entire audience; in fact the entire citzentry of New York.

  2. iron(ic)man triathlon Says:

    Thanks for your support
    richard a bit dramatic
    but very welcome

    (so useful to have a name you can add a syllable to)

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