Live theatre is not what first comes to mind when one thinks about Los Angeles, it being – historically, anyway – the film capitol of the world and all. Yet, there is a lot of very good theatre here, and last weekend I was fortunate enough to be part of the audience at Hollywood’s Theatre West for the revival of Verdigris, a play written by Jim Beaver and first written and produced thirty years ago.
If you’re a fan of the CW show Supernatural, or FX’s Justified, or Deadwood – remember Deadwood? – you know the actor and writer of the play, Jim Beaver, as Uncle Bobby, Sheriff Shelby Parlow, and Whitney Ellsworth, respectively. (Not to mention the dozens of other characters he’s portrayed; he’s definitely one of those actors we’ve all seen and appreciated many times, in many shows).
I’ll admit it; we’re fans of all of the above shows and so went to see Verdigris because of Jim Beaver. And I’m so glad we did. If you ever have the chance to see this play, I encourage you to do so. If I tell you what it’s about, you’ll probably wonder why you’d want to see it: a young man takes a job helping a woman who has been confined to a wheelchair for the majority of her life. A job that he learns entails rubbing vaseline into her feet. Sounds great, huh? But as is always the case with good drama, it’s much more than what it’s ‘about’. What it’s really about, writes the play’s writer: “It is about family and compassion and devotion and cruelty and loneliness and friendship.”
This production of Verdigris was also directed by Mark Travis, the same person who directed the premiere of it back in 1985. It was a very good night of theatre – you know the kind: where you cry and then laugh while you’re wiping away the tears, and I thought to myself when we were leaving, ‘Self, you need to do more of this.’
This weekend, however, is all about yard work, namely trying to figure out how to keep our backyard from becoming a dustbowl since we can’t water it enough to keep much of anything growing. And I’m planting some basil so I can watch it die because I can’t seem to keep herbs alive. I couldn’t do it in Seattle and I can’t do it here. But I’m going to keep trying.
Oh, and of course, we have the birthday party today for Rogue, our furry nine-year-old. She makes all the days and nights better.
Dogs are better than human beings because they know but do not tell ~ Emily Dickinson