“I am sent with broom before / To sweep the dust behind the door.”
Posted by Dark Knight Dramaturg on November 25, 2009
When planning to go to bed early, one should not open one’s high school yearbooks and begin reading the scribbles of long-forgotten teenage selves. Being in St. Louis is both calming and nerve-wracking in terms of the wedding plans: I feel I’m better able to get things done being in the city where this shindig is going to go down, but at the same time I feel like I must get things done quickly because my time here is limited. Contributing to that stress, Rachel isn’t here yet. She flies in tonight. Needless to say, there are some decisions a groom-to-be cannot make without the bride-to-be lest he value not his lasting happiness. For these reasons—and because I am sleeping on a futon without cats or fiance present—sleep has come reluctantly. Why I thought turning through pages of old memories of a boy I don’t recognize would have a relaxing effect, I don’t know.
A dear friend of mine dramaturged a day of her life in college. She took a video camera around for an entire day and then watched and researched everything that happened. Why, yes, she is in fact a genius. It would be an interesting project to expand, dramaturging who you were throughout high school. Researching who some of these people were who signed your book, and who they are now. Trying to decode the semantics of inside jokes that aren’t inside you anymore; there are whole passages people wrote that I cannot interpret, slang I have forgotten, cultural allusions that are now meaningless.
Just from the progression of four entries—one for each year we were classmates—it is weird to see the evolution (and sometimes de-evolution) of characters and friendships and odd to see hints of who these people would become and how we would grow apart. It is difficult to read any of these entries, except for those of two or three people, without imposing a certain degree of sadness, regret, and nostalgia. I don’t talk to these people anymore. “I know we will always be great friends,” but we aren’t. “I’ll see you over the summer,” but we didn’t. “Hopefully we’re not strangers in the future,” and that’s exactly what’s happened?
And, of course, the predictions about myself, none of which had anything to do with theater. The only hints of theater in the future of this apparently flirtatious, scrawny, kind-hearted boy (the words “good person” come up a surprising amount) are the reminiscences about the musicals and the randomly selected senior quote from Puck’s final speech in Midsummer Night’s Dream. A quote that I didn’t even understand then, and probably still don’t really. Everything else seems to point to the future of a painter or printmaker. Or emperor: “I’m sure I’m going to come home one day and go downtown and not recognize it—it will have been transformed into a beautiful, cultural place by St. Louis’s very own Augustus.” No small order to live up to, especially since we moved away.
Maybe someday we’ll return though. St. Louis is such a strange city. It always seems to be between what it is and what it wants to be. A city overflowing with potential energy just waiting to go kinetic. If we move back, then maybe we’ll reconnect with all these people who we’ve lost touch with, a number of who stayed, and a number of who (like Rachel and I) are engaged to their high school sweethearts.
Until then, maybe it is best to put this dramaturgy project on hold and focus on dramaturging the wedding. I am off to “the space” (this is such a theater term, and yet I cannot help using it to refer to our ceremony / reception site) for the second time this week. Apparently, I never took my parents when we picked it out last summer. I have no idea how that happened!
“Oh, and P fucken S”* I’m thinking about starting a wedding blog called From the Male Perspective (or something) simply on principle. Are there really NO wedding resources written by dudes? Come on. That’s stupid. I cannot be the first man to take point on wedding planning. It is 2009 people.
*My favorite line from David Mamet’s November.