JANUARY 29 “Your life sounds like most people’s vacations,” a friend told me not long ago. Yeah, well, maybe, but most people don’t have to spend hours on end writing in hotel rooms. I hate writing on the road, especially when I’m alone, and today was a writing day in the Windy City.
For some reason I find it easier to write in hotel rooms when Mrs. T is with me, though she doesn’t like it any better than I do. “Can’t you come out and play?” she always asks, to which I always reply, “If it weren’t for the work, we wouldn’t be here.” Nor do I have any right to complain, since the shows we see are mostly good and we generally manage to work in various other cultural adventures between curtains and deadlines. Nevertheless, it sure would be nice if I were rich and jobless. Nobody ever believes me when I say so, but I wouldn’t write if I didn’t have to pay the rent.
JANUARY 30 From Chicago to New York, where I picked up a rental car, drove into Manhattan long enough to run by the apartment, pick up the snail mail, and back up my hard drive, after which I headed north to Connecticut and Mrs. T.
JANUARY 31 This was a dark day, as we theater types say, and I spent it at home doing absolutely nothing. To be exact, I slept late, ate three meals, read one-and-one-half Nero Wolfe novels, and watched two old movies on TV.
FEBRUARY 1 To Lenox, Massachusetts, for the last leg of the Great Theater Marathon of 2009. Shakespeare & Company’s winter show is Theresa Rebeck’s Bad Dates, a one-woman play starring Elizabeth Aspenlieder, a Shakespeare & Co. regular with a knack for comedy who reminds me of the young Lucille Ball, another pretty woman who liked to make demented-looking faces. I wrote about Aspenlieder in last summer’s Wall Street Journal review of The Ladies’ Man:
Ms. Aspenlieder is one of the funniest actresses on the East Coast, and I can say no better of her performance as Mme. Suzanne Aubin, a loosely married lady with a widely roving eye, than that it reminded me of my favorite punch line in Joe Orton’s “What the Butler Saw”: “You were born with your legs apart. They’ll send you to the grave in a Y-shaped coffin.” I can’t recall the last time I laughed so hard as I did at the look of glee that lit up her improbably mobile features when she warned the hapless Mr. Croy that “I zink my hass-boont sus-pecttts!“
FEBRUARY 3 That’s all, folks! The marathon is over: Mrs. T and I pack our bags this morning, check out of our beloved Gateways Inn, and return to New York by way of Connecticut. Two shows await us, William H. Macy in Speed-the-Plow and the Irish Repertory Theatre’s revival of Brian Friel’s Aristocrats, followed by Mary Foster Conklin‘s two-night stand at the Metropolitan Room, which conveniently coincides with my fifty-third birthday. No more out-of-town shows until March, and about time, too.
(Last of seven parts)