Last night our small but lovely group hunkered down to bear witness to three women quite inexplicably orbiting around an opinionated, nay-saying, self-confessed dim and decaying sun in the form of a 50-year-old flailing divorced man in the play by Tracy Letts: Linda Vista.
As these three women were pushed and pulled by his mysteriously magnetic but barely pulsating life force, my brain kept drifting to the three women in my most recent book club non-fiction book: Three Women by Lisa Taddeo (penetrating book choice Joni G.!).
I love it when two of my favorite predilections closely and remarkably intersect. While watching the women on stage wheel around the character deliberately(?) dubbed Wheeler, I kept thinking about the 3 struggling women in the book. So many parallels to be drawn! Control (or more often lack thereof). Desperation. Self-loathing. Sexuality – a whole range of sexuality – so much sexuality. Being wrecked by the rejection of a man for months, years, or perhaps a lifetime. Fighting valiantly for one’s dignity hour by hour and day by day with varying degrees of success. The quiet but always pervasive need of just wanting to be seen, heard, or held. Basically the struggle of being human or as Wheeler’s sidekick in the play summed up with a charming deadpan delivery “it’s hard being human.”
As I write this I have a loose and impossible vision of the 3 women from the play and the 3 women from the book on a stage. Author Lisa Taddeo is carefully moderating a discussion on all of the above-listed topics with the author of the play Tracy Letts in the audience sitting next to Ian Barford, the actor who played Wheeler. The conversation that would ensue? Riveting. Gritty. Difficult. Painful. Honest. Uncomfortable. Shocking. Ugly. Challenging. Beautiful. Insightful. Train wreck like. Jarring. Cathartic. Deep. The conversation would be inspiration enough for Tracy Lett’s next 6 plays! And as luck would have it all apt words to summarize the play and the book.
If you like deep-diving into not pretty reality – sometimes literally laid bare – then both the exceedingly well-written book and often hilarious play are worth your time. If this sounds abhorrent to you, but you do like the idea of merging literature with the theater I give you this blog post I wrote almost 3 years ago. This post celebrates one my most favorite books – Books for Living by Will Schwalbe – and what continues to be one of my all-time favorite shows: Come From Away. A palpably sunnier and positively heart-warming alternative with humans behaving at their absolute best. Your choice. Me? I happily have my foot firmly in both camps and would never sacrifice one over the other. If you have any favorite show/theater combos I would love to hear about them! Leave a reply below. We’ll chat.